For the last couple weeks, Steve Baker has barely slept. Ever since his Goleta company’s signature product, the DUS-T, was featured on the Today Show and the History Channel’s Invention USA, Baker’s phone has been ringing off the hook.
The DUS-T, created by ICHANGE Inc., is a reusable facemask that can be attached to any type of shirt in order to protect users from airborne debris, sun, and, contaminants. The mask has a built-in pocket for an air filter and heating element, and though the product was initially developed for contractors, industrial laborers, and outdoorsmen, the DUS-T is now receiving considerable attention from the military and law enforcement.
“Military and police families have been contacting me nonstop. … Everything’s been shooting off since the show,” Baker said. ICHANGE already provides DUS-Ts to Canadian SWAT teams and is negotiating with the Army Special Forces Bomb Brigade. Baker is hopeful that he can land military contracts, but many soldiers are already contacting him on their own, he said. “People are searching for alternative ways to protect their lungs. … These guys in Afghanistan are sitting in sandstorms and coming home with lung disorders,” he went on.
ICHANGE has also created a new antiviral DUS-T, tested to protect against swine flu and SARS. With the new product, Baker hopes he can gain a foothold in organizations like the Red Cross and FEMA.
On Invention USA, the DUS-T was subjected to a series of grueling tests including a harsh dust storm and a fire, but the invention withstood the extreme conditions and received two thumbs-up from the show’s hosts. After the successful TV debut, the show’s producers put Baker in touch with major manufacturers in Texas who are interested in striking a deal.
ICHANGE may be on the verge of making it big, but Baker is still loyal to Santa Barbara. “I want to stress that we are looking for partners in this town,” he said.