SuddenStop – PediaCast 084
- Mark Boomershire
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Announcer: Welcome to PediaCast. A pediatric broadcast for parents. The Interview Edition. And now, direct from Birdhouse Studios, here is your host, Dr. Mike.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Hello, everyone. And welcome to PediaCast. A pediatric broadcast for moms and dads, it is episode 84 for Tuesday, November 20th, 2007. And we do have the Interview Edition. Mark Boomershire, he is the inventor of "Sudden Stop". What in the world is "Sudden Stop"? Well you have to hang around for a couple of minutes to find out exactly what it is. It's a cool new safety device for your car. That's all I'm going to tell you.
Before we get started, as usual, I like to kind of share something about myself. As most of you probably know, my kids are really into the acting thing. And my daughter is in Disney's "High School Musical". No, not the actual production, that will be way too cool. She is in a local production of that, the stage production of the show. And it was my turn to take her to rehearsal on Sunday. And my wife Karen, she'll sit there with them at rehearsal. Not actually in the room and take things. And I don't know, I just have trouble doing that. So, I guess… I don't know why. I'm just a little more, I don't know, I have to get out. I can't be coup up in this little room next the stage.
So, I went to Panera. And I go to Panera because I can take my laptop and they have free Wi-fi and I can get a latte. OK, this is better than my back up against a brick wall, you know I'm saying. So, I was just thinking, how cool would it be to attend college in the digital age. I went to college in the late 80's. Medical school was the early 90's. But, when I was in school, I mean in college, and I'm not that old. We still have paper and pens for taking notes. I mean we had computers, but they were terminals. They were just link to a big mainframe. There were big green pixels on the screen. And I just… I was in Panera and I'm looking around and I'm seeing all these college age folks with their laptops and working on their research papers or whatever, sipping on their lattes and I just thought, that's just the life. There is nothing like that when I was in college. That's all I'm saying.
All right, so, Mark Boomershire is going to be by, the inventor of "Sudden Stop", in just a couple of minutes. Before we get to the interview, if there is a topic that you would like us to discuss on PediaCast, just go to pediacast.org and click on the Contact Link. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the voice line at 347-404-KIDS, which is 5437.
All right, welcome back to the program. There are 1.6 million rear end collisions each year and a quarter second faster reaction time at 60 miles per hour can add as much as 20 feet of stopping distance. But how can you get a quarter second advance warning to the driver behind you. Well, as it turns out you can rely on a little device called "Sudden Stop". And here to talk about the product is Sudden Stop inventor, Mark Boomershire.
So, welcome to PediaCast, Mark.
Mark: Hey, thanks Dr. Mike.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Great. You know, a good place to start would be just of sort explaining to everyone what "Sudden Stop" is all about.
Mark: Sure. "Sudden Stop" is a very easy to install license plate frame that has lights and sensors that detect a panic stop. And when a panic stop in a vehicle occurs, it simply flashes ultra bright LED's for about three seconds and they grab the attention of the car behind you, so the car behind you has a quicker reaction time.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Great. Now, so this is like one of those plastic license plates covers, you know the people have, the one that comes sort of standard with your car, has the automaker, the dealership that you bought the car from that's it. That people has support one. It' that sort of thing, right?
Mark: Right, it's the same concept actually. Our is just a little bit different in the fact that the license plate goes on top of the "Sudden Stop". So we don't cover any portion of the license plate. But basically it's the same concept, it's more of a cradle design than a frame. It's actually in some states it's illegal to have a frame around your license place. So, we try to design around that issue
Dr. Mike Patrick: Oh, that is great. So this one is actually goes on your car first and then you screw the license plate on top of that.
Mark: Exactly. That's the installation. There are no wires, there are no wires that you have to cut or anything that has to be attached to the vehicle other than the plate itself using two screws.
Dr. Mike Patrick: OK. And so on the side of the license plate then, on each side there is a vertical panel of LED lights that are ultra bright and then these things flash only when you basically come to a sudden stop.
Mark: That's right, Mike. Only, that's the key, only when a sudden stop occurs. When I was designing this product, I wasn't concerned about normal stops, you know in a stop light or a stop sign or secondary streets. The 1.6 million rear end collisions that you spoke about in my research, the real dangerous ones are the ones that occur in highway speeds and so, "Sudden Stop" is designed to flash out of panic stop at highway speed.
So, basically around 50 miles an hour, if you slam you breaks and in a distance of about 20 feet or 50 miles an hour down to zero at a space of about 20 feet. That’s the type of force that will activate "Sudden Stop"
Dr. Mike Patrick: Great. How did you come up with this idea. I mean where was soft of the concept born for you?
Mark: Concept born was when I was almost rear ended. It was born very quickly when I had a guy approaching me very quickly from behind one day when I was driving in the rain. And I slammed my breaks and I have a habit of…. I grew up spending a lot of time in Europe. And I noticed European drivers, when they slammed their breaks would hit their hazard lights button at the same time. So they had hazard lights flashing and their rear end break lights.
Mark: And I just thought that was a great idea. Because if they were doing it on the auto bond, and some of the higher speed highways that we have. And they were protecting themselves in that way, there must be some thought to it. So, one day I was almost rear ended, slammed my breaks and hit the hazard lights at the same time. And that particular day I think I was almost saved from a rear end collision. So I started looking around for a product that will do the same thing and I couldn't find it. So, I started inventing it myself. Here we are.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah. That's fantastic. It's funny how fate kind of works that way for a lots of things in life. So, how do you go from the idea to actually putting it into practice?
Mark: That was interesting… I baby stepped it as they say. I first had to prove the concept that could you make… I told my wife about the idea. And she said, "I love the idea. But if you are going to do this and we're going to spend our time and money on it. Then, you need to make it so". That she can install it.
Mark: And by that she meant she didn't want to wire anything or… She's pretty handy but when it comes to automotive as what most people, they get scared. And so she said if you are going to do this, you got to make it so there are no wires to be attached. And that's what made it really tricky.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Oh sure.
Mark: So I actually hired someone, electronic engineers from Georgia Institute of Technology. Hired them by the hour, some graduate students and we went to RadioShack and they bought a bunch of parts and a couple of days later they showed up with a really ugly prototype. But we went around in the car and drove around it. It worked without being attached to the car. We put it on the dashboard and we slammed on the breaks. It blinked a little blinky light. And we proved the concept that it could work.
Dr. Mike Patrick: that is great. Now, I assume it's run by batteries since you don't have any wires. What kind of battery life are you looking at with this?
Mark: Three to… About three years. We said two to three years. In actuality, it will probably last about five years. They… all the study that I have shown show that a panic stop occurs about once every 1,000 miles. And the batteries in this device are lithium ion batteries that have great shelf life. So when it's sitting on it's dormant phase, it's not loosing that much power just sitting there. And so my engineers set a fantastic job, so answer of about three years is what we expect to get out of it.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Great. I assume you have a warranty along with it too.
Mark: Yes. Yup. One year warranty on the product.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Great. You did send me one of this to try out. I want to give that disclaimer and I appreciate that. And I haven't had any… I haven't been rear ended. So….
Mark: Well, that's good. It's a funny product. When you say your product is keeping nothing from happening.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Right. Right. Exactly. Well, I was a little… I haven't even thought… See, this is why I don't have the inventive mind. I hadn't thought to put it on the dashboard and try it that way. I thought, do I have my wife follow me and slam on my breaks, that's not such a good idea.
Mark: Yeah, we recommend that you don't try the tail the one car and slam on the breaks. If you don't have really good communication skills, then one person may not know when the other is slamming on the breaks.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Right, right…
Mark: It can get ugly.
Dr. Mike Patrick: One of the things I find so fascinating about this too is, we all have ideas. You know like, oh, this one would be a really good thing to do. But how many of us actually go out and invent something and market it and get it out there. So, just hat's off to you for following through with an idea that you have and I think that's great.
Mark: Well thanks. I'm just trying to keep up the American inventive spirit and the American dream and protect people while doing it.
Dr. Mike Patrick: See, you can't go wrong there. Now, do you have any new ideas or devices on the… You may not want to talk about it. You don't want to give away ideas you have down the road. But, if you're willing…
Mark: I definitely have some other. The concept can be put on any type, "Sudden Stop" fits any type of vehicle. Car, truck, van, SUV, RV, boat trail or anything. But there are other applications that we're definitely looking at.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Great. So, how can parent or anybody really, but, our audiences mostly parents who focus on them, how can they get "Sudden Stop"? How do they get in touch with you or to get one and how much do this cost?
Mark: Since we have a website, suddenstop.com, and the units are $29.95. And which for a product that can potentially save your life, our kind of catch phrase is for a less than half a thank of gas, you can put this product on your car and keep your self and your kids safer. But the website is suddenstop.com. And you just go on there and you can see a number of our retailers also that we have listed there, "Autosport". One catalog that is about to carry us, "One Step Ahead" . A very popular children's product catalog is about to carry the product. But I'm the type you can buy it from the website or buy it from any of our other than retailers. As long as you are buying the product, we're happy to have the business
Dr. Mike Patrick: Great.
Mark: And protect people.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Great. Well, thanks for stopping by, we really appreciate it and telling our listener's about "Sudden Stop". It certainly makes a great holiday gift with Christmas coming up. If you have… If you are not a parent yourself, and you have, even if you are, you have family members with, I guess it's not just parents and kids we're trying to protect, anybody. So, sounds like a great holiday gift idea.
Mark: Yeah. It's a great stocking stuffer. You know that the one interesting point, the parents statistic with the amount of carpools and folks that are being driven around in these vans and vehicles with third rows seats, those third rows are sometimes less than 24 inches from an impact from a rear end collision. And I really started noticing the sales of parents… We've been in some parent magazines, we really noticed some great sales figures there, because I think people understand that there is potential for harm when a child is so close to the rear of a vehicle. These third row seats are great for hauling around a bunch of kids, but, they're pretty close to the impacts of rear end collision, that's something we are trying to protect. Also, give these cars a little bit of more warning, the guys that are on the cellphone from behind, not paying attention when you get a car full of kids, that's a great thing.
Dr. Mike Patrick: Great. Yup. I agree 100%. So, folks go to suddenstop.com and check those out. Thanks Mark for stopping by we really appreciate it.
Mark: Thanks for having me on.
Dr. Mike Patrick: All right, as always, thanks go out to Nationwide Children's Hospital for providing the bandwidth for PediaCast. Also, Vlad over at vladstudio.com for providing the artwork. And of course, thanks to all of you and my family. Also, thanks to Mark for stopping by and sharing the word about Sudden Stop with us. During that interview, if you noticed some sort of background noise, he was actually on a family vacation. And I promised you I did not twist his arm about the particular day that we are going to do the interview. It just didn't worked out that way for both of us. And he said no, no, no, really I want to still do it. So, he was actually in the Caribbean, at St. Burts. And he was on the beach with his Macbook. And of course we had a video Skype going to, so, it was dark but you could hear the surf at the background and hear the insects, and so, anyway it's kind of cool.
All right, don't forget reviews in iTunes are most helpful. We are almost to 150.. I think it's 149 at the last count. And again my personal goals is to end at 200 iTunes reviews by the New Year. So, if you haven't done that yet, if you'd stop by the iTunes store and give us a quick review, that would be very much appreciated.
All right, tomorrow is going to be our last show before the Thanksgiving break. And we are going to answer more of your questions during that time together. So until then this is Dr. Mike saying stay safe, stay healthy and stay involved with your kids. So long everybody.