ABC’s American Inventor – Recap, Episode 4

ABC’s American Inventor – Recap, Episode 4

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And we’re back…Here it is the 4th episode of ABC’s American Inventor. Before we get started, be sure to check out our coverage of the two hour premiere, the 2nd episode, the 3rd and the forum where you can post about it.


  • American Inventor discussion – MAKE forums – Link.
  • American Inventor – Live blog, full recap! – Link.
  • ABC’s American Inventor – Recap, Episode 2 – Link.
  • ABC’s American Inventor – Recap, Episode 3 – Link.

Here we go…4 judges, 7 cities, 10,000 inventors $1 million prize! The graphics on this show look like the same ones that give kids seizures. This is the last week of inventions (thank goodness). The judges smack some quotes on us – Doug, Ed, Peter, Mary break it down. After this show, the finalists get some coin, $50k to develop their ideas.

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Ed collage, Ed is the man.

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Invention #1: NY, Joey cup of coffee – a rotating coffee pot/system – dial a cup, pick what you want dial it up. They’re playing some godfather music since this guy is italian, how silly. He got the idea when he saw a guy get shot, so it’s like revolver. This is actually a good idea, finally, not a pee joke.

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Invention #2: NY, here it is, right on schedule, toilet time. It’s a toilet air cleaner. 3 nos, 1 yes, Doug thinks it’s genius and well engineered.

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Invention 3#: NY, The human centerpiece – it’s a wearable costume that lights up. 4 nos, shocking. I’m not sure what it is was.

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Hula hoop, lighted sprinkler, undergarments, Texas sushi, high heel springs – all “bite the dust.”

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Invention #4: NY, A leash for your remote control. So you don’t loose it. All nos. He is REALLY SURPRISED.

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Invention #5: Denver, car armor – 2 truck drivers, a husband and wife. Armor for when cars are towed, etc. Good idea, not enough people will use it – 2 no, 2 yes. Sad music. They’re going all out sappy.

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Yes montage. YAY HAPPY TIMES!

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Invention #6: Denver, A character building buddy. You stuff it with character traits. Kids stuff the bear. Lots of close ups of the kid. Doug is crying, oh man, we’re having a breakthrough moment here folks! All yes!

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Invention #7: Denver, it’s a CD/tape that tells kids what to do. Over and over again. All no – all no – all no – all no – all no.

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Invention #8: DC, It’s a thing for holding cups – it’s numbered. Nope.

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Invention #9: NY? Some awkward father son thing going on here – ok, another coffee thing. It’s the coffee ring. You can brew coffee in a portable cup. He gave up a marriage, living off credit cards, he gave up a kidney, for karma. His son needs a hero… All no, sad piano music. I think it’s unfortunate they’re promoting some “desperation” theme with inventors, but hey, ratings.

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Invention #10: SF, Last one! Guy lost daughter in a car accident. It’s a car seat that’s a little bubble, so in the impact the kid/baby rotates – it’s a better car seat for kids. 3 yes! He’s in spinny-baby-seats!

Ok, that’s it folks – tune in next week – it’s finalist time. I’m not sure if we’re going to keep recapping so, we’ll see.


  • American Inventor discussion – MAKE forums – Link.
  • American Inventor – Live blog, full recap! – Link.
  • ABC’s American Inventor – Recap, Episode 2 – Link.
  • ABC’s American Inventor – Recap, Episode 3 – Link.

26 thoughts on “ABC’s American Inventor – Recap, Episode 4

  1. MakeaMillion says:

    I thought the baby car sea was absolutely brilliant. It may take a bit of work to properly optimise it, but its the type of product that can change our world. Just brilliant.

  2. Sergeant-At-Arms says:

    Is there some sort of kit or instruction manual on how to make an geosynchronous orbital satellite?

  3. leadingzero says:

    throughout the show, I have yet to see any great inventions. Most are just modifications of something else. Alot of them could make decent money but nothing really revolutionary here. Maybe they are saving the *good* inventions for later….

  4. minardi says:

    You guys should stop covering this… this is a horrible program. Thanks for doing the first few. No one could have possibly known how awful it would be.

  5. 3sigqlty says:

    this show is sad. To watch these old guys show the stuff they have worked hard on and to see their faces when they are told that it sucks. Who wants to watch that? this is like Dream Crushers Extreme. or some crap.

  6. ekai says:

    This couple was part of the yes montage with their blinky, bouncy Boing!. Also from San Francisco. Too bad they didn’t get a full segment as their thing is so much better than most of the crap on last night.

  7. MakeaMillion says:

    I think the vast majoirty of what they ahve show thus far has been horrible but I do love the baby seat idea.

    It’s really disappointing that the show has been so bad. My only hope is that now the auditions are done, the show will be better.

  8. brian1625 says:

    I suspect they’re following the American Idol platform.

    But the car seat is just one of those things that are so obvious it’s brilliant. But what do I know about physics?

  9. JeremyHarper says:

    Three words about the car seat: Shaken Baby Syndrome.

    It’s an interesting idea, but I would definitely want to see some safety testing done.

    I do think that the rest of the competition will have better ideas. Think of it like American Idol: The first few episodes are all the terrible singers who are funny, followed, and then they narrow down the better candidates into the hand-full of really good candidates, and then they pick a winner. It’s the same model for American Inventor.

  10. sharkeyzoic says:

    Sadly, the baby seat is misguided. Spinning cannot absorb the impact of a head-on collision, and in such a collision the safest position is back-first, preventing rupture of the aorta.

    There are already baby capsules with a pivot axis across the vehicle: for example, from the RACT Website:

    Both types incorporate a crash sensitive latch which disengages during sudden impact, allowing the bassinet to turn about the pivot. This allows the impact forces to be spread more evenly over the whole of the baby’s torso and head. The turning bassinet contacts and depresses the energy absorbing bubble, allowing the bassinet to come to rest without a sudden jolt.

    How much work did that take to find? Just a quick google search …

  11. SalemCat says:

    sharkeyzoic is absolutely right. Spinning the child does not lessen the impact at all. It may make even make things worse. Moreover, any child in this monstrosity will be choking on its own vomit within 5 minutes. Can you spell C-A-R-S-I-C-K ? Did these judges even consider testing this thing by placing a real child in this seat for a short drive around town? It’s insane.

  12. kgelner says:

    The whole idea of the car seat is to rotate so that it is facing back first regardless of the direction of impact (which the other car seat noted cannot do in a side or offset impact, only a front collision). Also without a latch to give way the seat will rotate into the proper position faster.

    The spinning was a byproduct of momentum, with a longer sustained force the seat would have just rotated to face the the front and stayed there. It was also probably a side effect of using a dummy that was too large for the seat (presubably the smallest test dummy they could find on short notice).

    The motion is probably going to rock the kid to sleep more than it would make them throw up, it might actually help a lot of babies sleep better on car trips. Don’t forget that because of conservation of momentium it’s not going to be moving around that quicikly, it would be more of a gentle rocking motion. You could also add some very slight braking to the rotation mechanism that would reduce movement for slight changes in momentum.

  13. SalemCat says:

    Bottom Line: The Car Seat will NEVER be manufactured simply because it does not work. Neither will the silly, dangerous bike. Word Ace IS being made – Hooray!! I hope the Football Device is also successful – time will tell.

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