by Paul Williams
Wipershaker; Click image to enlarge
>Ever get ice stuck under your windshield wiper while driving in the winter? Ever have your wiper blades so loaded with ice that they slide right over your windshield? Of course you have. It’s typical in cold climates, and dangerous, too.
Soon it may be a thing of the past.
Ottawa inventor and entrepreneur Mike Kelly has come up with one of the most innovative, if not THE most innovative developments for windshield wipers since their invention a century ago.
He’s patented a small (about the size of a coffee creamer) device that attaches to your windshield wiper arm. It’s called The Shaker: Wiper De-icer. The “Made in Canada” Shaker is connected by wire to a discreet switch in your car. Flick the switch and the The Shaker vibrates the wiper arm, quickly shattering any ice stuck on or below the blade, or attached to arm.
Within seconds you’ve got a clear view of the road ahead. In many situations, it’ll even unstick your blade from the windshield after freezing rain. You can put one on the passenger side, too, if you want.
It’s so obvious, why didn’t somebody think of it before? Well, somebody did. In fact, you probably did, when you rolled down the window while driving in a storm, stuck your arm out, reached around and tried to grab the windshield wiper to dislodge the ice.
You haven’t done that? You’re in the minority, because according to Mr. Kelly, about 60% of Canadians have. It must be some kind of Canadian rite-of-passage. Mike Kelly tried it, and the result was his car careening straight off the road and into a ditch.
“I was really lucky,” says Mr. Kelly, “I could have killed myself, and others. I couldn’t believe what I just did.”
And that’s where the idea took root. “Why isn’t there a way to shake the ice off the wiper from inside the car?” he thought, and put the idea on his list of things to do.
That was 14 years ago, but unlike most of us, Mr. Kelly keeps his lists. Seven years later he started actively working on the Shaker project. These days, he sure knows a heck of a lot about windshield wipers.
In conversation with Mr. Kelly, industry terms like “conformance” (where the joints of the wiper blade become frozen, and the blade lifts off the windshield) and “A-pillar build-up” (where ice packs along the edge of the windshield) come tripping off his tongue.
He knows all the different types and sizes of wiper arms, their blades and their shortcomings. He knows about ice and how it bonds to various automotive surfaces.
The Shaker project has gone from idea to research, development, testing and patenting. He’s exhaustively tested the Shaker technology on big trucks, SUVs and cars, and is currently finalizing arrangements with retailers and installers across the country to market the new device.
Most recently, Mr. Kelly quit his job as technology training account executive and went into the Shaker business full time, through his company, WiperShaker Technology Inc. Now he’s on the brink of, well, he’s not quite sure what he’s on the brink of, but his fingers are firmly crossed.
The first limited run of production grade Shakers were shipped to the Canadian distributor, Automobility Distribution Inc. just prior to Christmas. It will be later this year that the The Shaker will be available in quantity.
“We’ll be shipping on a much larger scale this June/July, to retailers of all sizes,” says Mr. Kelly. “We’ll make sure all inquiries are dealt with appropriately. A wait list will be created for those who miss the boat this year.”
The Shaker has a suggested retail price of $49.95, and is not hard to install. However, most people will probably choose to have a technician do the job.
“The installers I’ve talked to say that this is the easiest item they’ve seen to install on a car. It’s way easier than installing a car starter, or something like that,” says Mr. Kelly.
Versions will also be available that plug into your car’s 12V power point.
For more information check the website at www.wipershaker.com.
Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or write to:
Wiper Shaker Technology Inc.,
P.O.Box 305 Orleans Stn.
Mr. Kelly is hoping for many snowy winters to come