In late December I was awarded US Patent 7,860,673 – Distance Measuring Device. I essentially patented the use of a parallax to measure distances from the user to a nearby object using a simple device that can be manufactured for a very low cost. First conceived when I was 17 years old, I kept toying with the idea and entertaining the thought of patenting it for years. A lawyer friend helped me write the patent application 5 years ago. It was a very interesting exercise in turning an abstract idea to a formal patent applications written in legalese, complete with claims, drawings, and calculations. Following a long review process and after hiring a professional patent attorney to fight a prior-art claim, the patent was finally approved.

What should I do with this patent now? not sure. Devices based on it can measure distances alright, but nowhere near the accuracy required for serious usage. I’m thinking about turning it into an educational toy and selling it online and at science museum stores. It can be a great tool for teaching the parallax effect and geometrical optics in general. Doing this will force me continue this multi-year exercise and complete the invention process by commercializing it. Should be an interesting ride.

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