I don’t spend too much time talking about my remote control patent mostly because there isn’t much humor in United States patents named “Electronic Control Conservation Devices.” My idea is a remote control cradle that completely shuts off power to a home entertainment system. When the remote is placed in the cradle power to the home entertainment system is shut off. Removing the remote from the cradle restores power to the system. Here is an early prototype:
I’ve submitted the idea to the website quirky.com. If I can get 200 votes for it in the next 30 days they will consider producing it. If you would like to see this on the shelves at your local stores please vote for it at the following link:
It has taken the better part of three years, but the patent I filed was approved and published by the Patent Office! The process would have been shorter, but there was one claim that wasn’t approved. Once that issue was resolved, everything went smoothly.
Black Remote has been mentioned in a popular home energy conservation site HowToSaveElectricity.net. Check out the following link for more details:
Well, this may only be tangentially related to what I’m doing on this website, but I do think I make some good points– so here is goes.
I read an article in Popular Mechanics about a company that uses sunlight to create electricity using a Stirling Engine. Today I thought of a better design for their device. Since I really don’t have the capacity to build one on my own, I decided to go to their website and explain my idea. Here is what I wrote:
I was thinking about your solar collector that uses a Stirling energy to convert sunlight into electricity after I read the article in Popular Mechanics.
I believe, however that you could simplify your product and increase efficiency with a small design change. Instead of placing the engine at the focal point of the mirrors, a better solution would be to place a small convex mirror at the focal point which would reflect the sun’s rays to the engine mounted in a stationary position at the center of the dish.
This configuration would reduce the structure needed to support the engine, provide a shaded area for the engine to operate, and allow for easier access to the engine for maintenance purposes.
I was impressed with what I’ve read about your company, so I hope I can contribute towards your goal of clean, renewable energy.
I have another idea I’m pursuing at blackremote.com. If you like my suggestion, maybe you could help with my cause 🙂
I’m not holding my breath for anything to come from this, but, hey, I’ll never know until I try. I’ll post any replies on this blog.
After doing some research on companies who might be interested in my Black Remote Patent (ok, pending), I came across the “Smart Strip” power strip on Amazon.com for $26 each. The basic concept involves plugging the main component of a system (a computer or television) into a control outlet, and the other components into the regular outlets. When the main component goes into sleep/standby mode it shuts off power to all the components. When the main component is turned back on all the power is restored. The description on the box says that a typical setup will pay for itself in 10 weeks. I’ll have an update after I’ve gone through an entire cycle on my utility bill.
I’ve also reconfigured the power strips on both my television sets and have been making an effort to switch the strip off when I’m done watching television. I know– not very high tech, but it gets the job done.
As a side note, I’ve discovered that the “repeater” I use is a tremendous consumer of kilowatts. Basically it consists of two units. The first one receives infrared remote signals and converts them into radio frequency signals. The second one does the opposite. This allows you to control components from a different room. In my case, it let me hide away all the components of my entertainment center, including the projector, in a soundproof room. I’m not a big sound snob, but it makes the experience so much better without multiple fans running while I’m trying to listen to a movie. I’m looking into a more efficient way to get this done.
I’m still waiting for word from the government on my patent, and some household projects have been sucking away all my free time that I could be using on a prototype, but I did read an interesting article on Yahoo about how the gains in efficiency from new appliances are being offset from home electronic equipment. The complete article can be seen here:
According to Yahoo news: $2.8 billion a year
Read the full story here:
I found a more elegant solution for a prototype. I was in a craft store today and found a small wooden container that was the perfect size for this project. I drilled two small holes at the base for the electrical wires, and painted the outside black. Here is what it looks like empty and with a remote control.
I was able to get the day off from driving the big brown truck around, so I spent the better part of the day working on this site. I haven’t used WordPress in a while, and I am very impressed with the improvments to the admin page. I looked through all the themes online, and I finally settled on the SimpleX theme by Wpshoppe.com. I installed a plugin for a contact form (which seems like it should come with the basic installation, but that’s just IMHO) and I’m ready to go.
I always seemed to get sucked into the content aspect of my websites. I just want everything to be perfect so I go back and change everything around at least three times. So far I would say I’m about 99% happy with the look of the site, and about 70% happy with the content. I’m getting tired, and I have to work tomorrow, so that will have to do for now.
When I first registered this website through GoDaddy.com, I used the most basic “website tonight” option which gave me 5 pages and 1 email. It did a reasonable job with the quick site I uploaded at the time.
Last weekend I decided to go for a more customized look by using WordPress. Since GoDaddy advertised support of WordPress I thought the transistion would be simple. I must have gone about it in the wrong way because nothing would run until I switched from being hosted on Windows to Linux, deleted and reinstalled the database, and rebooted my computer a few times (just cause I knew if I called tech support they would want me to try that!). So, about 3 hours into the 5 minute install I got the default WordPress site up and running. Next week I’ll start on customizing the look and content of the site.
Today I received a letter from the patent office confirming that they have my patent application. Yeah! Now I just have to wait for 18 months or so until they get around to looking at it 🙁
After a few annoying lawyer related delays, I have finally submitted the official application for the patent. The title, “Energy Conservation and Control Sytems,” isn’t quite as exciting and sexy as I envisioned, but I’m sure being descriptive is better than interesting. The application ended up being thirty pages long, which is about twenty nine pages fewer than I used to describe the same concept. I do have to give Chad credit– he sat with me and explained every paragraph to my satisfaction. Basically the idea is to generalize the concept as much as possible so someone else can’t work around the patent by changing one small part of the process.
I’ve placed the majority of the patent as a seperate page. Chad advised me not to disclose the claims section of the patent until it get a final approval from the Patent Office.
Today I built a prototype of my remote control holder. I used plywood, stryrofoam, a light switch, and a short extension cord. It may not be exactly what the finished product is going to look like, but it works and gives me something to improve upon. Notice the light turns on when the remote control is removed from the cradle.
Here is a close up of the bottom of the device. The switch constructed from a standard light switch. The washers stacked on the bolt serve as a counter-balance, so when the remote is removed the switch restores power.