It’s All About the Patents- Jordan Reed

Why hello there! This is Jordan from team Vertabend to update you on what we’ve been doing since Karrie’s post. Now that we know what we are trying to prevent exactly, it will help us figure out how we want to tackle this problem. These past few days we’ve been looking at patents of past products that have the same function as our projected product. As boring and tedious as that sounds it was actually an entertaining source of information. We used Google Patents to search for previously patented neck braces. Now, there were there were four significant things I learned from this research:

  1. Google Patents is awesome
  2. Some of these patents we found date back 100 years and those neck braces looked insanely uncomfortable
  3. Neck braces have really only experienced minor changes in those last hundred years
  4. Neck pillows!

Number one is pretty self-explanatory (seriously, it’s fun to just look around at all the weird things you can find), so I’ll start with numbers two and three. A good chunk of these neck braces we found looked like medieval torture devices, and those were the good ones! While there has been an increase in variation of neck braces (now there are soft collar braces, inflatable braces, and those water bags you can carry with you and hook up) but as a whole the market is still mainly the hard plastic braces. While that is good news for us (because it gives our team a lot of room to be creative) it’s also pretty sad that neck braces have changed so little over that span of time.

An example of a cervical (neck) pillow
An example of a cervical (neck) pillow

Last on the list: neck pillows! While researching we stumbled across them and did a bit of research. We found out that the most common neck pain people experience comes from poor sleeping habits, especially the way the head sits while sleeping. This information was supported by our interviews we’ve conducted; most of the respondents stated that they usually experienced neck pain when they woke up or laid down for extended periods. While there are a lot of neck posture correction pillows, I think this is something our team might want to look into, because I think it would be really fun and relatively easy to create one (when compared to a neck brace) and it would be correcting the issue at one of its roots. I am still pumped about making a brace though, so we’ll see how this plays out.

All this research of ours is also in the process of being put together in our first memorandum! A memorandum is a document that shows what research we’ve been doing and helps us present our findings in a neat and organized manner. We’ve all started working on that as a group, and will continue to do so this week.

P.S. Found out this guy (Louis T. Wright) invented the neck brace/cervical collar
P.S. Found out this guy (Louis T. Wright) invented the neck brace/cervical collar

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