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Miami Herald, The (FL)
September 11, 1998
Section: Business
Edition: Final
Page: 1C
Memo:see IF YOU GO at end of text; see AT A GLANCE in state edition

YOUNG INVENTORS MAKE A SPLASH
DRAEGER MARTINEZ Herald Staff Writer

Joshua and Noah Wien are typical teenaged boys: they like playing pool, going skiing, hanging out. But the brothers also spend their free time another way -- working through redesigns and business agreements needed to market a water toy they invented.

"We started making [the toy] about eight years ago, and we got the patent about four years ago," said Joshua, 17. "We got the original idea from playing on a Slip 'N Slide(REG), which was fun but you could feel rocks and stuff under the bottom."

Whether they realize it, the Wien brothers are further along in the inventor's dream -- to envision, patent, market and sell a new product -- than thousands of innovators much older than them.

Pamela Riddle, CEO of development company Innovative Product Technologies, has estimated that only one invention in 100 ever makes money. Yet if their luck and perseverance holds, the boys might well pay for college or much more from the sale of their refined slide, called the Aqua Flight.

The original Slip 'N Slide, a long strip of vinyl or other plastic, was connected to a faucet by a long tube along the side that sprayed water onto the strip. Wham-O Toys has made millions of the slides since 1961, and continues to make the toys in 16-, 20- and 25-foot lengths.

Noah, 15, said rough terrain under the Slip 'N Slide gave them bruises and cuts. So at ages 9 and 11, he and Joshua began planning ways to improve it.

"We took the original idea but filled the slide with air to cushion your ride, and put an air-cushion on the end so you wouldn't slide right off and into the grass," Noah said.

Under the guidance of their parents, Abraham and Marilyn Wien of Southwest Miami, the boys spent much of their free time over the last four years designing and refining the Aqua Flight.

They learned to apply for a patent -- a

CUTLINES

The 4th Annual Innovators and Entrepreneurs Expo and Conference will run from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Radisson Mart Plaza Hotel, 711 NW 72nd Ave., Miami. The registration fee is $175.

MARICE COHN BAND /Herald Staff

FROM IDEA TO REALITY: Noah, left, and Joshua Wien show their patented Aqua Flight, a refined version of the traditional Slip 'N Slide(REG). With them is their sister, Gabrielle. The boys spent much of their free time designing the product.

Copyright (c) 1998 The Miami Herald

 
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