Design begins with an idea, grows into a concept, and ultimately blossoms at the hands of engineers. Sometimes the inventor, designer, and engineer are one and the same. Other times, it takes a team to implement the concept.
When Adam Q. Lynch of Madison, IN, an ex-salesman of residential fire detectors, came up with an idea for a multi-sensor detection system, he teamed with Harshaw Research to develop it. In his sales days, Lynch experienced many disagreements that stemmed from controversy over what type of detector provides the greatest level of protection--heat, fire, or carbon monoxide. Thus emerged the Trinity 2000 multi-sensor detection system, with help from a team of engineers. "If you want to get where you want to be," says Lynch, "you have to surround yourself with people who are better than you."
The firm felt the product was such a good idea that they entered it into the Hammacher Schlemmer SEARCH for INVENTION contest where judges selected the detector as one of the semi-finalists. Lynch attended the award ceremony in September at the company's flagship store in Manhattan where they announced four category winners and a $5,000 grand-prize winner. "When they announced my name as the grand-prize winner it about knocked my feet out from under me," recalls Lynch.
The multi-sensor detection system (Patent US5589824) senses different conditions of ambient air: smoke, heat from fire, and carbon monoxide. The housing/alarm circuit has lobes for first-, second-, and third-circuit sensors that surround a single-circuit alarm. An alarm circuit delivers the current to a logic chip that produces a current to sound the alarm in different patterns, according to the condition detected.
"The product is much more comprehensive today than my concept ever was. Engineers have taken the available technology and added bells and whistles," says Lynch. He notes that one engineer came up with the idea of a self-test, devising a circuit that allows Trinity 2000 to test its sensors and 10-year lithium battery every hour on the hour.
The unit consists of five components:
Computer/logic chips for self-testing
Ten-year lithium battery
Rate-of-rise and fixed-temperature heat sensors
Photoelectric/photocell smoke detectors
Gel-cell carbon monoxide technology
"This technology (gel cell) imitates the human body's response to different levels of carbon monoxide and responds the way you and I would respond," says Lynch. "Well, it won't vomit or throw up, but it does send a warning signal."
"This is a product whose time has come. The unit is software-drive, unlike any other residential fire alarm on the market," Lynch adds. "It has the three types of detection crucial to surviving a home fire. It's the logical solution."
Lynch doesn't claim to be an inventor, but does comment that, "It's taken a team of people to bring this product to where it's at today. We are not locked into any of the technology currently incorporated into the unit, so as new and better technology comes in, and it will, we can stay on the leading edge."
The system will hit the market around the first of July through Trinity International.