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Thread: Post Your Contest Questions Here

  1. Re: "Submit Your Project and Win!" Contest details and qualificaitons

    This might be a silly question, but does anybody happen to know the implications of posting details about a project that may be patentable? In other words, I have a project that I think is really cool and I *might* be able to patent it, so I'm wondering if someone else could see my idea and try to beat me to the patent office. I thought I read somewhere that by making it public, nobody else can patent it because it's public knowledge that they are not the inventor and only the inventor can patent the item.

    Forgive me if this is in the wrong place or I sound smug thinking my idea is so cool as to justify a patent. I don't know if it does, but I thought I'd throw the question out here anyway.

    Thanks guys!

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    Re: "Submit Your Project and Win!" Contest details and qualificaitons

    I believe if you make an idea public, then yes, I think it would be up for grabs. But that would be a really crappy thing for somebody to do. Depending on the type, patents don't come cheap either though.

    If you are certain that the project you built can be marketed into a product and make the person owning it enough profit to pay off the patent fee within the first year or two, then I wouldn't suggest posting about it. Just remember though, most technology is outdated in about a year or two anyways.

    food for though

    - Alex

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

  3. Re: "Submit Your Project and Win!" Contest details and qualificaitons

    Hmm...I'm torn. I'm really excited about it and want to share, but it seems like recently a lot of my ideas that I jotted down a couple of years ago are starting to pop up and be marketed by other people. Now I'm just paranoid.

    It's going to take me 3-4 weeks anyway to finish and polish it up, so I'll see if I can work some of my attorney friends to hook me up with a cheap consult with a patent attorney.

    Thanks Alex!

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    Re: "Submit Your Project and Win!" Contest details and qualificaitons

    Yeah, I know what you mean! One of the reasons why I decided to go back to school was because I thought how one would go about creating an electric guitar with invisible strings. I'm not talking about that Guitar Hero guitar. I'm talking about an electric guitar that looks and feels just like a real guitar, has all the features of a bad ass electric guitar, but the strings are all removed. The frets would still be there on the neck, but in between would be a light based touch sensor technology, and where you would normally strum, would be replaced by IR sensors of some sort.

    This way, the guitar is fully digital and you are free to plug it into your computer and do whatever. My first thought was guitar lessons on a PC, while having the computer understand exactly what note you played and how you played it, but the possibilities for something like this would be endless.

    Pretty cool and all, till about a year into school. I opened up a magazine (I believe it was Stuff or Maxim) and found my creation was right before my eyes. All but the IR Sensors for strumming

    Oh well, life goes on right?


    Anyways, good luck on your project, and we hope to see it in our Project Showcase section!!

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

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    Lightbulb Post Your Contest Questions Here

    We're going to stick this thread to have a place where everyone can post questions they have about the Submit Your Project and WIN Contest. Please do not post general contest questions in your own thread, as they will be moved to this thread. This is so that everyone can learn from each other and their questions

    Good luck to everyone!

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

  7. Re: Post Your Contest Questions Here

    If we enhance previously submitted entries, can they be re-entered in the future?

    For example, my Gym project only had a day or two's work in it and in the future, as it becomes more robust, I would like to resubmit it and also put more time into the documentation and possibly release the software for a DIY project.

    Now that I know the contest is going to be monthly, I think it would be much better for me to only enter 1 project at a time, but put more effort into each submittion instead of trying to enter as many as possible last time. =) But if someone does enter multiple entries, are they limited to 1 project placing in the top 3?

    I thought it was really fun and have posted a message on my board plugging the contest. I will try to do more in the future to drive some traffic.

    Thanks,
    Vaughn

  8. Re: "Submit Your Project and Win!" Contest details and qualifications

    the patent office has a service for $10 that will allow a demo like these to be submitted quickly and cheaply. It then gives you 1 year to file the official patent.

    Now, prototypes and proof of prototypes are the Ace of Spades when it comes to patents. So if you make the idea, someone else goes to patent it, then you follow along a year later with a patent, showing the date of conception and prototype, you can overturn their patent even though they filed sooner. The $10 submittion fixes this by locking in your date a little sooner, but you can win either way.

    Personally, I just throw most of my ideas out there. The more places I have videos and writeups, the more places that work is copyrighted and the safer I feel. If the whole world knows I designed it, good luck getting a patent on my ideas... I have proof of conception and functional prototype.

    I have a patent and it took 5 MISERABLE years to get it. I had to share it with the company I work for and two managers ever got their name added as inventors. Event with their help and the company lawyers, it was a horrific ordeal and I never want to go through it again unless the is some real big money involved.

    Here is the Patent Office's website:
    http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html

    Here is an excellent reference site:
    http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/patents.html

    Here is my patent:
    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...&RS=PN/6789215

    Look at the F'N wording in that thing. These lawyers almost killed me writting that thing. Here is my description: A software inventory system that can automatically update a computer's software by connecting to a central server and pulling the updates to the local computer and installing them with unattended scripts.

    Good luck getting that info out of that stupid lawyer jargon.

    Vaughn

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    Re: Post Your Contest Questions Here

    For now we are going to say okay to resubmitting, but we are hesitant because this could be abused rather fast. On the other hand, we love the idea of people evolving projects and there were some on the cusp that could jump into the top three.

    I think we would limit it to 1 resubmit a month per person and caution people against going nuts about it. A project should have some serious upgrades to it before it's resubmitted.

    We want to encourage new projects showing up, not just the same ones being recycled. People should also note that we would probably avoid giving top prizes to the same people every month. We do want to spread the love somewhat. But hey, if your projects rock that much, you just might grab more prizes than everyone else. In the end it's all about building a community of people sharing awesome DIY projects.

    That leaves the question of how to resubmit. I vote that a new thread needs to be posted and the old one capped off with a link to the new thread. That way people finding the old thread and wanting to comment are directed to the new one posted in the new month.

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    Re: Post Your Contest Questions Here

    I also suggest putting a link to their old project submission thread in their new project submission thread. It should be the very first line of their new project submission thread. This is to politely inform everyone that this is a resubmission project.

    The link to the old submission thread is not meant as a "read more about my project here" link. You will still have to follow the documentation guidelines as if you never submitting the project before.

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

  11. Re: Post Your Contest Questions Here

    Here is what I am working on with my gun turret for example: 4-cameras, 3 on the base to provide a panoramic view that does not move to help with accurate motion detection and No-Fire zones, the 4th camera is for just looking around and confirming barrel position.

    A laser is being added to confirm aiming across the 3 panoramic cams.
    A pico-relay is being added to activate the laser.
    A keylock is being added to the firing mechanism for safety.
    A USB hub is being added to support the 4 cameras.
    A speaker and microphone are being added for warning messages and to control/disable the unit by voice.
    Of course the software gets a big rewrite for all of this and the software was not even shown last time...

    That is about all the plans for the next version. I think that changes the project enough that I would like for the new version to be seen and entered in the contest. Again, just for example, would a list of changes like that be considered drastic enough to qualitfy it for entry again?

    I agree that you do not want the same project entered every month untill there are few enough submittions that it wins. But if projects can not be enhanced and resubmitted, then I would never want to enter one until its final revision, which is not so bad either, I guess.

    I think entering and losing, but getting feedback on what can be improved and stuff is valuable and when those suggestions are addressed and the project improves, I would like to see them again.

    Anyways, I'll flow with whatever you guys decide as you go. I am not after prize money, just enjoying the activities and always looking for motivation to work on these things.

    Vaughn

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