Inventor uses technology to cool body, cups
Steve Place of Gentry is seeking investors for an invention he developed about five years ago after a beverage fell from his lawn mower’s cup holder. He said he nearly cut off his hand reaching for the beverage and wanted to make a better cup holder.
The Siloam Springs native is CEO and chief of design for Simply Cool Technologies, co-based in Springdale and Colorado Springs, Colo. He attributed the latter location to the residence of a mentor who helped Place present his technology at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Place developed battery-powered cooling technology after a friend suggested adding a cooling device to the cup holder on which he was working. He later adapted the technology to body armor used by law enforcement. Other uses for the technology might include cooling apparel for construction workers who spend a lot of time outdoors in the heat.
Place said he invented Simply Cool Thermal Technology in 2018. Since then, he said he’s traveled to Arlington, Va., to present his technology to DARPA staff with an invitation to return and received interest from other Washington, D.C.-metro area federal agencies.
“The next step is securing a way to finalize the patent application,” he said. “We’ve done the provisional [patent], and it got a little expensive after that. That’s kind of the hangup.”
He added, however, that Tesla CEO Elon Musk doesn’t patent products because of the challenge to defend them in court against other countries, such as China or Russia, as earning a patent would provide others with the instructions to steal the technology.
“Without patenting it, I don’t have to give the instructions,” Place said. “With the provisional, everything is not in the patent.”
Because it’s battery-powered technology, the battery comprises most of the weight, and he’s looking to lighten the load by using a new battery expected to be lighter but more powerful than existing ones.