Apr 20, 2012 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
It’s a simple solution for an everyday annoyance.
The Ice Device is a cross-shaped foam object you put in your glass to keep the ice from falling on your face when trying to get that last drop of liquid out of your drink. It comes in handy at summer barbecues, outdoor pools, and anywhere else you might find yourself needing an ice-chilled beverage.
Never heard of it? That’s probably because until just recently, it hadn’t existed.
The Ice Device is an invention of East Syracuse-Minoa junior Eric Spero and Luke Sweeney, 25, both of East Syracuse. The duo recently traveled to Chicago and presented their product at TeleBrands’ Inventors Day, where inventors from around the country gathered to pitch their products to TeleBrands founder and CEO AJ Khubani and a panel of judges, among them Anthony “Sully” Sullivan, in hopes of landing the next “As Seen On TV” hit. TeleBrands’ list of products includes OrGreenic, Lint Lizard, Sticky Buddy, Bake Pop and the PedEgg.
More than 400 inventors applied to pitch at Inventors Day; Spero and Sweeney’s Ice Device was one of only 25 products to make the cut.
The panel of judges decided not to endorse the Ice Device, but not out of any disapproval for the product itself, Sweeney said.
“They passed on it, but they said it was a clever idea,” Sweeney said. “They liked our thinking, but they have a price point they have to try and match and it’s like 9.99. And it cost us to make ours 99 cents for a whole sheet of foam, so each one is worth like 25 cents.”
Sweeney said the experience was more than worth the trip to Chicago, regardless of the outcome.
“It wasn’t as nerve racking as I thought it would be,” he said. “We weren’t sure who we were going to be pitching to … and we were surprised that it was AJ Kubani and Sully. It was really cool. And it makes you want to invent more things just to get invited back.”
Spero and Sweeney are waiting to see if another company might sponsor the Ice Device, but have an another plan in mind in case no one picks it up.
“If it didn’t go anywhere we were just going to use them every day,” Sweeney said.
Inventors are encouraged to submit their products to BigIdeas@TeleBrands.com for future Inventors Days.
Where it all began
The idea for the Ice Device, believe it or not, did not originate over an iced beverage.
“Eric had texted me,” Sweeney said. “And he said, ‘Yeah, I want to invent something.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, sure. Let’s try and think of something.”
So Spero proposed a few ambitious ideas, “these very involved ideas,’ Sweeney said. “And I was like, ‘Let’s think just of something that’s a common annoyance or problem, or something that we could fix easily.”
Sweeney recalled the first thing that came to mind. He loved having ice in his drink, but hated having ice fall on his face when he was trying for that last drop.
And so the idea to make some kind of ice-blocking device was born.
“It’s not going to solve world hunger or anything, but just something, a common, everyday thing, that someone might buy to stop the little annoyance,” Sweeney said.
So they got to work searching for a material out of which to make this everyday thing. They eventually went with baby face foam that they found at a local craft store. They tested out a variety of shapes, and landed on an “iron cross shape, which folds right into the glass and works well” to keep the ice in check, Sweeney said.
More than just keeping the ice from falling, the device serves to insulate the ice and keep it fuller longer – an added bonus for potential consumers and the inventors alike.
“We didn’t intend for that to happen but it kind of just happened that way,” Sweeney said.