Happy Feet – Useful Invention

This post was first published on December 23rd, 2011.

A 64-year-old Richland woman named Guadalupe Olvera recently received a U.S. patent for her idea on foot-and-toes dryer device that will help those with diabetes and other patients. Guadalupe Olvera said that she was able to obtain the patent because of help and encouragement from teachers at Pasco’s Columbia Basin College, close friends and her faith in God.

The patent involved here is United States Patent No. 8065814, titled “Foot drying device”, issued by USPTO on 29th November 2011. The invention relates to an improved drying device for human feet, and more particularly to a drying device for directing air flow between the toes and to the bottom of a patient’s feet. The foot dryer is designed to provide air flow between a patient’s toes for drying the bottoms of a patient’s feet and especially between their toes. Toe separators are provided on a pair of replaceable gel footbeds for improved sanitation and comfort for the patient. The footpads are replaceable in order to decrease cross-contamination from one user to another. Air vents are provided to direct airflow to dry areas such as between a user’s toes.

The idea occurred to Guadalupe Olvera in 2003 just after she got out of the shower and saw the floor vent. She put her toes right there and felt nice and warm. That is when the idea occurred to her and she said: “Oh, my God. The Lord Jesus just gave me an idea.” Olvera believed she had a winner of an idea and wanted to apply for a patent, but she was reluctant to tell anyone. Olvera, a grandmother with seven children, kept the inspired idea as a secret for five years because she could not trust anybody.

In 2008, Olvera cautiously mentioned her foot dryer idea to a friend who advised her to speak with Gene Holand, associate professor at Columbia Basin College’s Center for Innovation and Design. Olvera, with her daughter Juanita Grimaldo, hired patent attorney Bob Shaver of Boise to pursue a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office in Washington, D.C.

The idea for a foot dryer was not an easy sell to the patent examiner. They had several rejections, but finally, they succeeded in convincing the examiner. Throughout the 30-month process, which cost Olvera several thousand dollars in legal expenses, she insisted her idea was worth the effort. Bogert, who spent decades building his own home-based business into a successful manufacturing enterprise with two dozen employees, said Olvera’s commitment to the project is admirable. Olvera said that seeing her father-in-law suffer from diabetes and having been around other diabetics convinced her that the need for a foot dryer was real. She realized that the patients have trouble keeping their feet dry and they get sores between their toes and can lose them. So the idea would be beneficial for them. She also feels that a lot of people around the world are going to need this.

Olvera now wants to see her idea being implemented and sold. She said that she wants the device to be useful to people with diabetes as a health-benefit device and then she will know she has been successful.

I am sure that after reading this article, most people will get inspired to bring out their innovative ideas to light and work towards implementing their ideas to make this world a better place to live in!

Author: Taruni Suresh

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