NightStar 4 PBS

The lastest generation of shake flashlights have arrived in Colorado. AIT is pleased to introduce NightStar 4 PBS. NS4 PBS is a hybrid shake flashlight that incorporates the rugged polycarbonate housing and 1.5 Farad capacitor of the NS3 series and includes and improved lanyard port and multi-function push button switch that operates in full on mode or strobe mode for emergency signaling.

NS4 PBS is approximately 8 inches in length, which is ideal for the car glove box, back packing and emergency kits at home or work. Backed by a Five Year warranty this latest generation shake flashlight will continue the tradition of providing maintenance free light without fail for years to come.

To learn more, please visit NightStar 4 PBS

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Green LED Light – Unique Attributes and Applications

Green LED light has a variety of unique attributes and benefits. Most high brightness green LEDs emit light centered around 540 nanometers (nm).  This wavelength nearly matches the optimum sensitivity of the human eye in daytime and nighttime conditions.  For the human eye accustomed to daytime light (photopic vision) the maximum efficiency is for light centered at 555 nm.  For the human eye adapted for night vision (scotopic vision), the maximum efficiency is for light centered at 510 nm, which is a wavelength that corresponds to blue-green light.  Because green LEDs so closely match the optimum performance point of the human eye, their light enables objects to be seen with high-resolution and in high contrast while having minimal impact on night vision. 

Green LED light also has excellent transmission through water.  The visible wavelength that transmits the furthest through water is 480 nm, which corresponds to a true blue-green.  As a corollary to this, one may think that blue-green light would also transmit the furthest through clouds and fog, since they are composed of water vapor.  Clouds and fog are white however because they uniformly scatter all visible wavelengths ranging from 400 to 750 nm.  One might ask then, why are fog lights yellow?  The answer to this is three fold – first, longer wavelengths (reds, oranges and yellows) scatter off of water droplets less than shorter wavelengths (purples, blues and greens).  Consequently, less light will be scattered back towards the vehicle’s driver if longer wavelength light is used.  This in turn will minimize the potentially blinding  ”wash out” effect.  Second, as already stated, the human eye is most sensitive to yellow light.   So, the best compromise between eye sensitivity and minimal scattering is yellow light.  Third, sodium vapor lamps are extremely efficient at converting electrical energy into yellow light.  Sodium lamps also have long operational lifetimes, are easy to manufacture and are relatively inexpensive.

Green LED light can also be used to illuminates insects such as scorpions and millipedes.  Though these insects fluoresce green when illuminated with UV light, their exoskeletons reflect green light quite effectively.  Green LED light can also be used to attract many species of fish.  Fish eyes, like human eyes, are extremely sensitive to green light.  Green light scattered off potential food (such as fishing lures), will immediately grab the attention of fish swimming in the area – and because green light travels great distances through water, the area can be quite large.

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Red LED Light – Interesting and Useful Applications

Red LED light has several unique features, and consequently several unique applications.  Most significantly, red LED light has little or no impact on night vision.  Red LED light is also invisible to most insect eyes since they generally see in three specific colors—ultraviolet (UV), blue, and green.  With the exception of humans, most mammals also lack the ability to see red light.  Because of this, red LED light tends not to attract insects and is unlikely to spook wildlife. 

The perception of color begins as light enters the eye and is absorbed by specialized cells located in the retina.  These cells respond to light and transmit signals to the brain.  The color perceived by the brain is determined by the wavelength of light emitted from or reflected off objects in the world around us.   In all mammals, the retina is comprised of light sensitive cells called rods and cones. Rods function in the absence, or near absence, of light and permit night vision.  Rods contain rhodopsin, a chemical that absorbs and changes shape when exposed to only a few photons of light.  If exposed to a broad spectrum of light, the pigment immediately bleaches, resulting in temporary blindness that lasts approximately 30 minutes.  In humans, rhodopsin is less sensitive to longer wavelengths of light; therefore red light slowly depletes the eye’s rhodopsin so night vision is preserved.  Rather than affecting the rods in the eye, red light is detected by the cones.

Cones function in full light and permit daytime and color vision.  Humans possess blue, green and red cones which allows us to see colors spanning from 400 nm (deep purple) to 750 nm (deep ruby red).  By comparison, Insects as well as animals such as deer, elk and bear have no red cones and have great difficulty detecting red LED light. It’s easy to see then (no pun intended), why red LED light is well suited for hunting, military operations and astronomy.

LEDs in general are remarkable for several reasons.  An LED is a solid-state device that converts electricity to light with minimal heat generation, therefore they are extremely efficient.  The bandwidth of light emitted is very narrow, typically only 5 nm, and the color can range from UV (350 nm) to infrared (700 nm) depending on their chemical composition. An LED will function for tens of thousands of hours if not subjected to electrical overload. Their solid-state design also makes them durable; they are difficult to shatter and rarely need to be replaced.

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Emergency Disaster Relief – Preparation is Everything

Emergency disaster relief after a crisis is all about planning. It’s horrible to think about an emergency occurring to you or your family. Seldom is there any warning about when and where a disaster will occur and how severe it will be. Science and technology have given us great tools for predicting some natural disasters but most strike unannounced. You are the one in control of your own emergency disaster relief and how well you do depends on planning and preparation.  Your emergency disaster relief program should include a 72 hour emergency kit because the first 72 hours after a disaster are  most crucial.  This is a kit that contains enough supplies to get you through the first few days of or after a critical event.   Being prepared is your first defense against any emergency situation.

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Business Success – An Arduous Journey

Business success is an accomplishment that few obtain, and those that try will certainly endure demanding if not agonizing challenges every day.  Sadly, in today’s economic climate the phrase “business success” is almost never heard, even when those striving for it give it everything they’ve got – their savings, their time, even their homes as collateral. 

Business success is a relative term and each company has its own idea of what it means. The story of Applied Innovative Technologies (AIT) is a classic tale of a few entrepreneurial spirits struggling to sell their paradigm shifting products to the world.  In the end, business success will be reached when their no battery LED flashlights are commonly used in homes, businesses and by military personnel around the planet.  After 13 years AIT continues to strive for this goal, so as you can see business success is elusive!

On the path to business success, AIT has faced and survived numerous challenges.  Perhaps the most severe was technology theft from China.  Few people realize that patents afford little or no protection from technology theft abroad.  The unfortunate truth is that if a product is marketable, it will be copied and unless a company has substantial financial resources, a patent alone won’t stop knockoff products from flowing across the border.   Another unfortunate truth is that the U.S. government has no laws in place to prevent knockout products from entering the country.  Currently, product ideas can be stolen and sold with impunity – ultimately undermining U.S. innovation. In many cases, knockoff products – because of their inferior quality – damage the market’s perception of the product.  This is most certainly true with shake and crank flashlight technology

AIT’s technology was copied in 2003, and since then they’ve been powerless to stop Chinese companies from selling their flashlights in the U.S. In fact, AIT spent a tremendous amount of money battling patent infringement. In hindsight, if this money had been spent on marketing and product development and enhancement, it’s quite possible that business success might have been achieved at this point.  The lesson then is simple; focus on brand recognition and product superiority; don’t even try to battle them legally. 

One might wonder then, why bother getting a patent at all?  The answer to this is three fold:  First, owning a patent identifies you as the innovator and puts you on the high moral ground – you might be infringed but you will not be the infringer!  Second, it adds power to your marketing effort – a patent number or a “Patent Pending” placed on your product, its packaging, and any other marketing material conveys quality to your buying audience. Finally, a patent adds value to your business and can always be licensed to reputable companies who are interested in replicating your product or need the technology as part of some other product they’re developing.

Given the challenges that AIT has faced and continues to face, it’s not uncommon for people to ask “How have you been able to survive?” Often, the founders of AIT wonder this very question.  In the end it comes down to perseverance and a commitment to quality and exceptional customer service.  They also realize that they will only lose if they give up.  As Walt Disney was famous for saying, “Keep moving forward”.

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Trademarks

Trademarks are among a company’s greatest assets. Trademarks help drive product recognition and corporate identity.  A trademarked name identifies a product, and with the passage of time it may even become synonymous with those qualities imbued in the product.  The name Coke for example is recognized around the world and when people see it they immediately associate a taste with it.  In a sense then, the Coke name is more valuable then the patented formula that creates it…people see and make a connection with the name – the patent is for the most part invisible and immaterial to those who buy it.  This is also true for NightStar flashlights.  NightStar no battery flashlights have become synonymous with reliablity – their most defining and valuable characteristic;  NightStar’s patents however are of little interest to most people.

Trademarks have several other distinct advantages over patents.  Perhaps most importantly, trademarks are easy to defend.  If another product uses a name that’s pronounced the same as your product – regardless of spelling, and it has the same classification as your product (for example both products are lighting products) then your trademark has been infringed and the other product will have to change its name.  Another advantage trademarks have over patents is that they’re easier to obtain. Once a trademark has been submitted to the PTO (Patent and Trademark Office), it will probably take a year or less to receive a response.  If a professional trademark search was conducted prior to submitting the trademark, it’s highly likely that the response from the PTO will be favorable and your trademark will be granted. On the other hand, it may take years for the PTO to review and analyze a patent and to ultimately render a determination regarding its validity.  Trademarks are also far less expensive then patents.  The cost of a trademark is around $1400, which consists of an $800 fee for a professional trademark search plus $400 for an attorney to properly complete the appropriate forms and a PTO filing fee of $100 and $200.  By comparison, the cost of a thorough patent search combined with the cost of a professionally written patent document can easily exceed $15,000.  

Trademarks unlike patents however, must be used or they will be forfeited.  A trademark must appear on your product and / or on the product packaging and the trademark must be used within 1 year after receiving the mark.  Trademark extensions can be filed but the limit is typically 6 months to a year.

Trademarks should be considered early in the development of any product because a trademark will impact marketing and manufacturing.  A product’s trademarked name should be easy to remember and it should match an available website domain name – this will greatly enhance all future marketing efforts.  In the world of manufacturing, injection molds and product packaging artwork can only be completed once an available name is found. Jump on it fast and remember that a trademark is one of the most valuable assets your company can own!

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Product Packaging

Product packaging is often underestimated and underappreciated for its impact on product marketing, manufacturing and distribution.  Product packaging is perhaps your first and only chance to capture the attention of customers who have limited time and money.  Product packaging must also be inexpensive – expensive packaging will only serve to inflate the price of your product thereby reducing its marketability. It’s also important to remember that your customers are buying your product – its packaging will quickly be discarded – don’t spend anymore money then absolutely necessary. 

Product packaging must be durable.  Whenever a product or its packaging is damaged, the manufacturer is responsible for its replacement and any profit made is quickly lost.  Plastic clamshell packaging is now commonly used because it’s extremely tough and will safely protect the product within.  Transparent clamshell packaging also allows for visual presentation of the product itself, which is important for communicating the nature and quality of the product to potential customers.  Clamshell packaging also helps prevent in-store theft due to the fact that it’s extremely difficult to open.  This however can be a detriment once the product is purchased – sometimes it’s nearly impossible to extract the product without damaging it or yourself.  Clamshell packaging can also be more expensive then cardboard packaging and leaves little room for marketing information unless it’s made significantly larger than the product. 

Product packaging should in most cases be kept as small as possible.  While it’s extremely important to capture the eye of your buying audience, retail shelf space is at a premium.  Therefore, the message that needs to be delivered on the packaging must be captured in the smallest possible size.  This will reduce the cardboard and plastic used in the packaging, which will in turn reduce the cost to make it and will minimize landfill waste.  An added advantage to reducing the size of product packaging is that it will reduce the size of the master carton shipping container, which again will save money.  

Product packaging is without a doubt a challenge – several requirements must be considered and difficult trade-offs must be made.  The product packaging for NightStar flashlights has undergone over 15 different design changes.  The very first package was a simple triangular cardboard box with a viewing window on one side, but it was crude looking and too large for most retail stores.  At one point a transparent tube was used.  The tube was eye catching and space efficient but was expensive and extremely fragile.  The tube was eventually abandoned for clamshell packaging which worked quite well, however there was a demand for smaller, easier to open, and more environmentally friendly packaging.  Now, NightStar and LightStorm flashlights are packaged in high gloss cardboard boxes and the artwork is printed using bio-degradable ink.  The wall thickness is only .02” and each box is only slightly larger than the lights themselves. After nearly 13 years NightStar flashlights are now contained in a durable, compact, attractive, theft resistant, environmentally friendly and inexpensive package that’s lightweight and easy to ship…and hopefully the only changes that will be made in the future are updates to the artwork announcing unique product advancements and capabilities!

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