My latest article published in Tuesday’s Newsday. Read it here: http://www.newsday.co.tt/features/0,224743.html
Ever stood at your door or gate with a bunch of keys, only to waste valuable minutes trying to get the right key into the right lock? Have you tried coloured tags and keyrings but to no avail? Soon there may be no need to fumble, as an innovative young Trinidadian is charting new territory and has acquired the patent to the model of a device to solve this problem. His name is Kevan Sinanan and his product is called YFumble.
The name YFumble was first inspired by his mom Sucilla Sinanan and was almost discounted for the risk of sounding corny, but soon caught on and now has a catchy ‘ring’ to it based on his international research.
When Sinanan is not making waves in the industry and pioneering new products, he assists SMEs with software development through web based custom built software to automate their paper based processes such as receipts, invoices and rostering into an electronic system. This is all done through internet explorer without the installation of software.
The 32-year old computer and electrical engineering UWI graduate was a finalist for the prime minister’s award from NIHERST for Scientific Ingenuity in August, 2015. Also a graduate of CARIRI’s Business Hatchery programme, he was advised about licensing his idea as well as other essential information.
He shares how the idea was borne explaining that he only has two keys on his key ring, but thought there must be a better way with the advancement of technology, “I just refuse to mark my keys with a marker or coloured key ring. Technology keeps getting smaller and more user friendly, I was sure I could design something to vibrate and make a sound.”
YFumble is a device the user attaches to the keys and to the locks, when the user approaches the lock the corresponding key will begin to blink letting the user know which key to open the lock. The device will also vibrate to help the visually impaired.
It is totally wireless with no key ring or conductor. The end product has even more functionality whereby you can programme your mobile phone to enhance use. After a few Google searches, he discovered that there was nothing else like this on the global market. He approached a US law firm who specializes in patents and their searches confirmed that his idea is one of kind.
Sinanan began to build the first prototype, but sought further technical assistance so he took his ideas online to sites such as elance which soon sparked interest overseas. In 2013 he was one of the winners of the i2i (Idea 2 Innovation) competition and received a grant from the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development. He was later able to outsource technical support from persons in Australia and India who built the second prototype.
This worked for a while and he began to network and do research in Trinidad. He found a local team (a startup called FASOVE) consisting of 3 persons and headed by one of his former UWI colleagues Jeevan Persad. They “worked magic” as Sinanan describes it and built the third prototype. “At some point, you have to step back and let the experts work,” he says with a humble smile as he recalls the thrilling discovery of finding someone in Trinidad to do this.
FASOVE built the “bread board” which he explains is a developer’s kit that allows engineers and other techies to experiment with circuits. It allows for trial and error much like a template. The team was able to make the prototype work with one battery based on what survey respondents wanted, trying several different concepts such as Bluetooth technology.
Sinanan is currently seeking investors at this stage to provide angel capital to make the device into a consumer product. Interested persons in YFumble can visit his website for more information as well as to pre-order which can make this dream happen sooner rather than later. “It’s all about making life easier for those most in need: women, janitors, the elderly, the blind or their caregivers. It’s about that feeling of accomplishment for having made a difference,” Sinanan beams.
See benefits in bulleted form below.
Benefits of YFumble:
- It is convenient, easier and quicker to identify your keys with your locks
- It works in the dark or a poorly lit environment
- It increases your safety as it could reduce the time taken to identify keys
- It assists visually impaired and the elderly
- It can be retrofitted onto existing locks and keys; there is no need to change over existing systems
- It works with any lock
- Little installation time is required
- It utilizes very low power consumption compared to existing home automated solutions
- Utilizes one battery source regardless of the amount of keys and locks