Client: Graham How
The patent is currently pending for Puncture Finder.
What is Puncture Finder?
Puncture Finder is a small portable hand held device that contains light weight beads. Puncture Finder helps find the puncture in your bicycle inner tube, after pumping up the tube you simply pass it along searching for the escaping air. When the puncture is reached, the escaping air activates the contained beads, which can be seen through the clear top and sides moving rapidly around. The beads only move when over the puncture. Its beauty lies in the simplicity of the design and the ease of use. It’s an inexpensive way to detect single or multiple perforations and can be used time and again. Cyclists can carry the product with them easily and use it if they have a puncture on the road.
Graham How was looking at a way of detecting punctures that didn’t involve cumbersome and time wasting processes such as putting the inner tube in water to see if bubbles appeared. In particular, he wanted a device that could be carried anywhere and used on the move without any hassle. As you might expect, the lightbulb moment for the design came when Graham was miles away from home with a bike puncture. With no suitable gadget on the market, he went home and began working on the prototype. After visiting Innovate, a patent was applied for and is currently pending. The initial issue face in the development of the project, apart from the design of the prototype, was finding a manufacturer who could produce the Puncture Finder at a reasonable cost. The actual search for the right manufacturer took a little over 18 months, something that involved talking to several different companies and finally settling on the approach that worked. Graham has gone for self-manufacturing in the first instance but will look at a licensing deal in the future. He advises that it’s best to do a world-wide patent search first before going to manufacturers and getting prices.
The Puncture Finder can be bought online and the work getting it to market has been well worth it. The simplicity of the device means that it has not yet failed to work and there are few, if any, maintenance issues with it as a product. Graham is currently proving that it can sell well in the UK. Once that is ascertained, he will approach worldwide markets. About his experience with Innovate, Graham How said: “The professional service provided by Innovate was very helpful. They gave me a full picture of what I should do and the pit-falls to overcome. In particular, the meetings over a cup coffee where we had general discussions were very helpful. The design service was also very important.”