Standard GPS units that suction to a car’s windshield are “at best, uncomfortable and annoying, and at worst, dangerous,” said area inventor Stephen D. Heslin. That’s because they require drivers to lean forward to program the device, he said. Heslin aims to eliminate this need to reach by implementing a GPS Extender, a portable mounting bracket that brings the device 16 inches from the windshield.
“I was with a coworker doing outside sales, and I watched her program the GPS, and it freaked me out,” said Heslin, currently an employee of Lockheed Martin. “There are some other inventions that move the GPS device forward, but can’t move it out of the way. I wanted to create something that both extends and retracts.”
“Safe driving is a prerequisite for all motorists, and everyone on the roads benefits,” said Heslin. That’s why the GPS Extender will have a pivoting, locking ball joint to provide a full range of possible adjustments. The device was designed to increase both safety and convenience for motorists.
Each GPS Extender will be composed of a UV-resistant, injection-molded polymer in a cylindrical telescoping shaft-within-shaft design The larger-diameter outer tube will be able to slide out from the narrower tube, which will be marked with a series of notches and a spring clip to secure the GPS Extender at different lengths to provide users with options for optimal viewing positions. Similar to standard GPS units, the GPS Extender will attach at the adhesive mount at the end of the narrow tube, allowing drivers to secure it to a car’s windshield. It will extend to a maximum length of 16 inches and retract to eight inches.
According to Donna Hardiman, the media director at Invention Resource International (IRI), the GPS Extender just went into the licensing department of IRI and is looking for a manufacturer.
When Heslin met with IRI, he drew preliminary sketches of the GPS Extender. Since, a 3-D computer model has been generated. Although no physical model exists yet, Heslin is confident that the product will be successful.
“It’s easy and inexpensive to make and will be easy to distribute,” Heslin said. “There are a lot of different applications — military, airplane — in addition to car use.”