A Gadget’s Call for Assistance calls Andrew Morris to the winner’s circle.
Morris won the most reader votes for his gadget, A Gadget's Call for Assistance. He told Design News he created the gadget to help a specific person. “I designed this gadget because a woman had been referred to me whose husband had been paralyzed by a stroke. He was unable to call for help in an easily audible manner,” Morris said. “This made it difficult for his live-in caregiver to get a good night’s sleep. She had to sleep with ‘one ear open.’ This device solved her problem.”
Morris will accept the Gadget Freak of the Year award at the Pacific Design and Manufacturing show in Anaheim, Calif. in February, where he will also demonstrate his winning gadget.
Allied Electronics is a longtime sponsor of Gadget Freak. The company's Customer Marketing Manager, Gabriel Reichman, told us that Morris' "unexpected, almost counterintuitive" gadget is "what makes technology such an exciting field to participate it."
What I love about Andrew’s gadget, aside from the ultimate potential to really help people when they need it most, is the evolution of inspiration that led to the final design. There is something almost profound in the fact that only when he stopped to hear the silence, could he finally find the victim’s voice. Cheesy, I know. Sorry, I can’t help it. But it’s these unexpected, almost counterintuitive, discoveries that make technology such an exciting field to participate in. Allied extends sincere gratitude and congratulations to Mr. Morris. An outcome like this really is what the whole thing is about.
Great gadgets in the competition
The competition was stiff for our inaugural Gadget Freak of the Year contest. There were six rounds of semi-finals, with four gadgets in each round. “In my opinion, my gadget is not necessarily any better than any of the other gadgets, from a technical standpoint,” Morris told us. “I think it won because it helps a paralyzed man. Your votes have shown that toys are cool, but it’s really about helping other people. That’s the coolest thing of all.”
Morris has been designing electronic circuits since adolescence. He spent most of his career designing automatic test equipment for the defense industry. In the last five years of his work life, he designed automatic soap and paper dispensers for the paper industry. He holds a BSEET degree from Virginia Tech.
Morris is a multi-finalist
Morris won three of the semi-final competitions for Gadget Freak of the Year. He won the first round with "A Gadget's Call for Assistance," and won the fourth round with the Inexpensive Dimmable LED Desk Lamp. He said he decided to create the desk lamp gadget because he wanted to see what kind of performance he would get out of an LED lamp. “I designed a current regulator circuit for the LEDs that is simple, energy efficient, and dimmable,” Morris told us. “The result worked so well that I thought others might like to build one, since none are dimmable as far as I know. The dimming feature saves energy and greatly enhances the lamp’s utility.”
Morris also won the fifth round of voting with his Speed Regulator for Rotary Tool. He designed a tool the regulated speed and figured other users could benefit. “When using my rotary tool with an analog speed regulator that I had designed many years ago, I thought that such a useful gadget may be of interest to others,” he said. “The analog circuit was complex to build, but I thought of a digital solution that I invented for a previous employer that was far simpler to build. As the invention had fallen into the public domain, I thought it that would make a nice Gadget Freak project.”
Here are some of our more recent Gadget Freak projects: