Well a lot of water has passed under the bridge since my last post… we no longer live at Arding – we have moved into town. This is not to say that Arding doesn’t feature in my life anymore. We planted quite a few trees yesterday in the old Arding Recreation Reserve which is probably the last of the major projects completed by the Landcare Group. This is a bit sad but not enough of the new residents seem to care about planting trees or eradicating feral animals. Or the existing members are getting too old or moving away to distant places.
It has taken nearly six months to get settled, what with building a bunch of cupboards in the garage to store all the stuff that I have accumulated over the years and building a shed in the garden I have been pretty busy.
This now means the time has come to turn my mind to the project I have been wanting to get back to for quite some time.
Many years ago I started thinking about how one might produce a more efficient wind generator. In about 2003 whilst sitting in the light of our camping gas lamp in the midst of a blackout my thoughts turned again to this problem.
A few sketches later and a light bulb went on in my head! “That just might work”, I thought. That weekend with some pieces of wood and cardboard cobbled together and the electric fan making a breeze in the lounge room it was clear that it would work.
Since then a number of prototypes have been constructed (but not yet generating electricity). Like many procrastinators I set the project aside from time to time and life went streaming on. Occasionally enthusiasm would resurface and more would be done.
My thoughts turned to patents and how I might introduce the idea to the world. Having worked in the world of innovation previously I understood just how difficult it is to develop a manufacturable product. At my age and time of life did I really want to attempt to start a new business? Probably not.
I went to the trouble of writing a provisional patent for this idea which I registered myself. This happened several times – each time the patent lapsed. Last year I engaged a patent attorney to do the job “properly”. This was a reasonably costly and not very satisfying exercise. The reality hit when it dawned that even after spending 10s of thousands of dollars for a full patent, if a large international company stole the idea, I would have to spend millions defending it. Not an appealing prospect.
So what was it I really wanted to achieve? The money that might be earned by trying to commercialise something like this could potentially be quite substantial, however, at what cost to health, family and friendships? Really, what I wanted was for the world to be able to use the idea and to simply be recognised as the person who first thought of the idea.
By publishing on the World Wide Web the details of how the design works surely it means that no big grubby rip off merchant could patent the idea and stop me and anyone else who wants from making one. Gradually the idea has evolved and that is what will probably happen.
If some folks want to build one of these and give me a small licence fee for the idea that would also probably be a nice touch.
More to follow….