Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I’ve wondered why, with our HCEI goal to convert from 90% foreign oil dependency to 70% renewable energy use by 2030, there have not been more Hawaii companies working on innovations in renewable energy. As my own innovation stimulus, I am offering this INVENTION CONTEST for anyone to come up with new, useful and nonobvious solutions to the following 3 invention starter ideas. The winner in each category will be announced on my blog site and receive my coveted “GOLDEN BAGEL AWARD” for best Hawaii intellectual property achievement of the year. The award is well-recognized by those in the intellectual property field in Hawaii and will serve as a credential that can attract funding from investors and support from business and professional service providers in Hawaii. As an added bonus for the 3 winners chosen in the Invention Contest, I will perform a FREE patent search on each invention and provide my written opinion on its patentability (a $1500 value).

So here are the 3 invention starter ideas:

1. MASHUP OF WEATHER RADAR IMAGES AND GOOGLE EARTH TO CONTROL SMART PV POWER GENERATION SYSTEM: The National Weather Service of NOAA provides real-time radar images of weather and cloud patterns over the U.S. (http://radar.weather.gov/). If weather radar images of clouds can be mashed up with Google Earth maps of specific locations, then one can predict when clouds will pass over a PV facility location so that the output of the PV facility can be conditioned (with energy put in and out of storage) to avoid sharp output swings to the grid or any connected power network.

2. ON-SITE MODULAR APPLIANCE CONTROLLERS USING POWER LINE SIGNALLING: Prior developments have shown how to send data signals over a 60-cycle power supply line to connected terminals. If a smart controller for a home PV array could turn down appliance usages when clouds are expected to pass over the site (see Item #1 above), then backup power would not need to be purchased from the grid at full retail price. Why not create a standardized module that plugs in-line between an appliance cord and a wall socket and can be programmed to mimic remote control signals to turn up or down the energy usage of the appliance? For example, a signal can be sent to turn up or down the thermostat for an A/C unit, light dimmer switches, electric appliances, etc., depending on the expected direction of PV array output.

3. WIND TURBINES FOR UTILIZING HIGHWAY WIND TUNNELS: Zooming cars on highways generate high wind tunneling along the directions of traffic. Why not put up aesthetically pleasing arrays of axial wind turbines on highway fencing that can turn the wind tunneling into electrical energy for storage in on-site batteries to power roadside emergency devices, signs and street lights?

Contest Rules

This contest is being offered on May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) to celebrate our hope for freedom from having our local economy colonized by foreign oil producers. Submissions must be submitted by email dated by noon July 4th, Independence Day. This contest offer is limited to participants residing in the State of Hawaii as of the date of submission.

Submissions must be in the form of a pdf file sent to my email address below containing: (1) a printout of this contest offer with acceptance of its terms and conditions signed and dated by the actual inventor/participant, and listing their residence address; and (2) an overview description of their new, useful and nonobvious solution for any of the above invention starter ideas (text on no more than 2 letter size pages accompanied by no more than two drawing figures).

I will review the submissions and determine (in my sole judgment and discretion) a winning entry of the best invention solution for each invention starter idea, as well as all runners-up who send in qualifying submissions. Submissions will be kept confidential by me unless publicized by the inventor or otherwise published. Winners and runners-up will be announced by September 7th, Labor Day. The presentation of the Golden Bagel Awards to the winners will be scheduled later in the year.

I recommend that those participants who believe they have come up with unique inventions that may be commercially valuable seek to protect them by filing for patents if warranted. As the contest judge for all submissions, I will not handle patent applications for any contest participants, but I refer those seeking to patent to any of the other qualified patent practitioners we have in Hawaii. I invite those qualified patent practitioners in Hawaii to identify themselves to the contest participants by sending a comment to this blog entry.

Those seeking to patent should file their patent applications before May 5, 2010, in order to avoid any prior art effect in the U.S. that might arise from publication of this contest. I am dedicating the 3 invention starter ideas to the public domain and waive any claim to co-inventorship with contest participants. Those who file for patents should claim as their inventions only their own new, useful, and nonobvious invention solutions, and not the starter ideas themselves.

To promote my proposal for a “patent-free zone” for renewable energy technology in Hawaii (see my February 1 blog), any participant submitting a qualifying entry in this contest shall agree to share a non-exclusive, royalty–free license under any U.S. patent they may obtain with all other qualifying participants in this contest, of the right to make, use, or sell, in the State of Hawaii only, the invention solution they submitted in this contest. In this way, inventors responding to an invention starter idea cannot sue each other over patent rights on their invention solutions in Hawaii. Participants who obtain patent rights are free to license and/or enforce such patent rights outside of the State of Hawaii if they so choose.


Contest Participant:

Dated: ____________________

Submission Accepted as Qualifying for Contest:

Leighton K. Chong, Contest Master
Email: LKMChong@aol.com

Dated: ____________________