TRW licensed the IntelliFlow technology and invoked a non-compete clause to prevent us from working on this technology anymore…
Then they scrapped our $10 device that solved the airbag problem and would hereafter prevent passenger deaths — in favor of their $120 TRW seat-sensors.
TRW’s solution to the airbag deaths was to “turn off the airbag” so it doesn’t kill kids. Their seat-sensor would sense if the passenger seat held a child or an adult by weight. This is the system now installed in millions of America cars that literally turns off the airbag if it senses the weight of a passenger is under 70-pounds (because carmakers are more afraid that the passenger would be killed by the airbag than by the crash itself!).
Unfortunately, precisely when a child needs the airbag the most – during a violent crash – the TRW seat-sensors tell the airbag NOT to deploy – when the airbag could have saved that passenger if it was allowed to deploy using an IntelliFlow throttle.
Our ten-dollar IntelliFlow airbag throttling-valve would have saved the passenger if the airbag was deployed through the Intelliflow valve. But that was not to be.
TRW tied us up with the non-compete clause and then sat on our technology while they prevented us from selling it elsewhere.
What was especially galling is the fact that 6-months after they shelved our technology in favor of their seat-sensors, the TRW execs that condemned tens of millions of America’s front-seat passengers to the risk of airbag non-deployment (and even death) left TRW for better-paying jobs, getting promotions according to Corporate America’s Peter Principle.
Then, adding more insult to injury – we were sued by a competitor who claimed we were infringing or copying their microdot shaped-charge burst-disc opening technology when, in reality, our spool-valve invention does not open a burst-disc, and doesn’t care at all what kind of burst disk opening method is used.
But that didn’t matter. This failed airbag inventor needed someone else to blame for his own company’s failures and to try to take the credit for my company’s IntelliFlow innovation that had nothing to do with the way to open up a compressed gas bottle but everything to do with the way to throttle high-pressure gas to cushion an opening airbag.
Ultimately, after spending tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees and court costs, we prevailed against this nuisance suit; yet by this time, the market for our breakthrough airbag technology had passed us by.
Hopefully, these learning experiences will help me deal with the adversity that all my current project and partners will face, trying to implement our intended business plans
NHTSA’s own certified Sled Tests confirmed that the IntelliFlow airbag throttling device successfully and safely protected all sizes and weight classes of passengers from the kind of injuries that smaller and lighter passengers still suffer today from airbags.
According to NHTSA, between 1990 and 2007, airbag accidents were responsible for the deaths of 284 people, including 180 children.
Our novel spool-valve could throttle the inflation of an air bag fast enough, with high enough pressure, and with enough gas volume, to safely cushion a 250-lb adult. And at the same time it could safely cushion an infant in the front passenger car-seat or a 100-lb passenger without knocking them out, giving them concussions or even decapitating them.
Our spool-valve invention that cost $10.00 to manufacture was proven to be the most effective solution to the problem of airbag injuries by NHTSA-certified Sled Tests that every airbag must endure.
To prove that we had developed a “better airbag” — we (“those naive outsiders from Beverly Hills”) paid the same NHTSA-certified crash test facility used by all the carmakers to run crash-tests using our IntelliFlow-throttled airbag compared to other non-throttled airbags, for all size (rear-facing infant, three-year old, teenager and heavy male adult) crash-test dummies.
Unlike any other airbag system that could only protect a heavy men but fail to protect a 3-year old or infants– our IntelliFlow airbag throttle safely passed the test and protected all weight classes—front-facing infant car seats, toddlers, women and heavy men categories of passengers.
Our simple $10-dollar spool valve innovation regulated the gas inflation curve to safe inflation for the entire weight range – which no other airbag innovation had ever demonstrated before.