July 2008

Inventor Portrait: Julia Truchsess

July 20, 2008

Part of a continuing series of inventor portraits.

Inventor: Julia Truchsess
Invention: Digital Picture Frame
Brand Name: Digi-Frame

After building a successful career inventing electronic toys including MicroJammers, Rhythm Rods, and Singing Bouncy Baby, Julia came up with the idea for digital picture frames in the late 90s. When the Digi-Frame debuted, larger companies were also launching similar products, but Digi-Frame was the “Rolls Royce of Frames” according to reviewers. The story of how Digi-Frame came to be, and why it’s no longer around, is a pretty interesting one, and Julia tells it in her own words after the photos. Here is Julia with one of Digi-Frame’s large models:

Julia in her home office with her husband:

And here’s Julia’s workspace, full of electronic stuff I don’t understand, and a display of dolls and toys featuring technology she invented:


What follows is Julia’s explanation of Digi-Frame’s history. The product no longer exists, but the original Digi-Frame website is preserved here. And now, Julia:

Inventor Portrait: Brian Fried

July 9, 2008

Part of a continuing series of inventor portraits.

Inventor: Brian Fried
Invention:Wrist Band Construction for Balloons
Patent: No. 6,938,275
Brand Name: Balloon-O-Band

Brian has invented several products for the home, but this one (modeled below by his daughter Alana) is for the outdoors. It makes the point that sometimes inventions can be simple.

Here’s what Brian has to say about his invention (along with artwork from the patent):

“My daughter Alana was the inspiration for the Balloon-O-Band. She lost 3 character balloons ($8 each x 3 = $24) at one kids show. Then we went to an amusement park and she was taking the balloon on and off between rides and I had to keep untying the ribbon, and I noticed that this was happening to parents and children all around me all the time. I couldn’t take it anymore, so like with many of my inventions, I needed to find a solution to keep our kids happy and parents keep their sanity and investment!”

Brian’s website: BalloonOBand.com