Company crowd-sources inventions - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Company crowd-sources inventions

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Zoli Honig, 25, invented a plastic slicer to spiral cut a hotdog. He says the shape helps it cook and holds condiments better. He got the idea from cooking lunch for his three-year-old.

"I did not think this would be my first invention. That's definitely for sure. I had a lot of other ideas, but hey, whatever works," Honig says.

One hot day Garthen Leslie got the idea for a so-called "smart" air conditioner that can be programmed through a smart phone. It also has GPS tracking, sensing you are on the way so your house will be cool when you get there.

"One is to make sure I have a comfortable environment when I come home without having to leave my AC running all day long which will save me money and help with energy conservation," Leslie says.

Honig and Leslie are inventors launched by a consumer products manufacturing company called Quirky. They submitted ideas to Quirky.com and a virtual community votes on the best ones. Each week, three items are picked to go into development.

During the process anyone on the Quirky.com site can give input about how a product should look or work. Anyone involved gets a share of the profits if the product gets sold.

"There were close to 2,200 people who made contributions to that air conditioner," Ben Kaufman, CEO of Quirky.com says. "Two thousand people get paid."

Kaufman was still in high school when he convinced his parents to take out a second mortgage on their Long Island home to fund his first invention; a case to both charge and hold your smart phone.

It was difficult for Kaufman to get his idea to market so it gave him the idea for Quirky.

"It's hard to get through a dinner with anyone without them saying, 'you know what would be cool, I've got this idea for' but nothing happens to those conversations. They just end," Kaufman says. "We try to supplement those conversations and take them as far as possible."

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