May 29, 2012
What is the ThingSling?
Just a clever little gizmo you stick to the back of whatever device you don’t want to drop. In this photo to the left, you see it on my Kindle Touch, but you can stick it to a phone, iPod, mp3 player – just about anything.
The ThingSling is made of a thick piece of elastic attached to a piece of hard plastic, that adheres to the back of your device. It’s small, and doesn’t add much bulk, so your gadget still fits in your purse or pocket even with the ThingSling attached.
Here is the ThingSling story from Johnny Murphy:
A little more than a year and half ago, I married my wife, Connie. With the new household came a new combined phone contract, (and some sweet new Epic 4G phones) . The first week of owning the Epic I dropped it like 3 times. It still worked, but we were about to depart on our Honeymoon to Hawaii, I thought, I’ve got to do something about this or this phone is going to meet its fate in paradise. Volcanoes, oceans and jungles are no place for a nice phone. So being the inventive sort, I glued some elastic to the back of my phone, stuck a finger under it, and now the phone was securely stuck to my hand. It was awesome. On our honeymoon I was able to take video over the edge of a boat to capture the dolphins swimming next to us, and almost mindlessly take pictures over cliffs, waterfalls or standing on rocks in the surf. No worries about dropping the phone!
When we got home I started looking for a similar device that I could purchase. I found nothing. I did a patent search. Nothing. As a side note, there’s a more mystical, divine intervention side of the story too. But let me just say here that there were ‘signs’ leading me to this.
I created some more refined prototypes of my elastic strap with a solid base and an easy to apply adhesive. I gave away lots to friends and family and everyone loved it. So I applied for a patent on the idea and began figuring out how to make this thing and bring it to market. Mind you, I’m a part-time science teacher, not a product development guy. At least I wasn’t at the time. It took about a year to figure out the production process and to find local sources for tooling. I didn’t want my product to be stamped ‘made in China’. Thanks to 3M, Excel Plastics and Woodland Tools I was able to make parts locally. I designed the packaging and the website with the help of friends, and then had the luck to stumble upon Rebuild Resources.
Rebuild Resources is a facility that helps recovering addicts build working skills and get back in to the job market. It was a great fit. They loved the product and wanted to help us manufacture it.
I had to stop teaching a couple months ago. ThingSling is taking off. Sales have been growing steadily, and since CTIA we’ve gotten international distribution. I have to admit, its pretty exciting to see my invention spread around the world.”
The ThingSling is available from ThingSling.com for $12.95 in black, white, neon green, sunshine orange, and eighties pink.