Local man invents electronic fly repeller
LIHU‘E — When Jason Badua isn’t busy tracking high-speed bullets for military weapon intercept systems, he’s inventing.
“I can’t help inventing,” Badua said. “Some people paint, others invent stuff.”
Among the ideas listed by the network engineer for Oceanit Laboratories in Lihu‘e are a “landboard” surfing simulator, a tow-in launcher, a shark bite-proof ocean-armor X-Suit and a pathogen- and virus-sensing kitchen cutting board.
But Badua has one product that he’s ready to launch into production: an electronic fly repeller called a FUF (pronounced “foof”). The tabletop repeller uses a motorized spinning arm, much like a helicopter, with soft propellors to keep flies away from open food and drinks.
“It’s a simple concept that surprisingly hasn’t been brought to market yet,” Badua said.
FUF is short for Forget–U–Flies Electronic Fly Repellers, and it’s based on the shooing motion of the human arm.
He became inspired to create such a device after one too many outdoor meals interrupted by aggressive flies.
“I was trying to enjoy a meal at a restaurant on the North Shore of Kaua‘i,” he said. “I had to eat my meal one-handed because the flies were so numerous and aggressive that if I stopped waving my arm back and forth, they’d quickly land on my food or drinks.”
A market need was discovered, and Badua formed Fly Away Technologies.
“Most people just put up with flies when they’re eating outdoors,” he said, “but when some engineers get mad, they’ll go to amazing lengths to get even.”
During the last year, Badua developed his concept and improved upon it. He now has about a dozen final prototypes of a rechargeable, lightweight, adjustable-height fly shooing machine.
“It’s easy to invent,” he said. “Anyone can scribble something on a piece of paper. Now, product design, that’s much, much harder and is part of the 99 percent perspiration that Thomas Edison was talking about when releasing new inventions.”
He said product design requires an understanding of materials and sometimes electronics, both of which suit his education and background.
Badua said he partnered with machinist Clyde DeBell, and the two hope to begin production of FUFs on Kaua‘i.
To fund their aspirations, they’re taking pre-orders at http://fly-repeller.com and have launched a product campaign at http://indiegogo/fuf for crowdfunding.
He’s also turning to crowdfunding is a way to raise funds for capital equipment and initial supplies before heading to the bank.
“To my knowledge, I am the second person on Kauai who’s attempting to start a local business via crowdfunding,” he said.
He anticipates the first limited rollout of FUFs in mid-2012, with a wider release in late summer or fall.
Badua has also entered WalMart’s “Get on the Shelf” competition.
The top three products will be manufactured, distributed and displayed at WalMart stores around the country. Nearly 4,000 contestants have contributed videos. Winners are chosen by viewers who vote by April 3.
Visit http://getontheshelf.com for more information about the contest. For more information about Fly Away Technologies, call 651-2030.
• Vanessa Van Voorhis, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 251, or by emailing email@example.com.