Alex Bird, a Webster Groves senior and student in South Tech’s Design & Entrepreneurship program, is likely to have his first product on the market while he’s still in college. The young entrepreneur is currently securing a provisional patent and planning test marketing for his brilliant design, the “Pensory”, a writing pen designed for students with sensory challenges.
Bird designed his initial models using 2D and 3D software. After several revisions, he moved to 3D prints of the design and estimates he went through 500 or so as he carefully assessed, revised, and refined his prototype. He learned that his initial designs were too complicated, particularly when manufacturing costs were assessed. “I needed to simplify it for mass production,” Bird said. He worked with Mr. Arcipowski, Precision Machining instructor, to learn more about injection molding in an effort to refine the product further. He then spent his summer drafting patents and reaching out to pen companies, like Lipic Pen, for advice and to garner interest. His efforts are paying off, after 8 months of hard work he is currently working on sample models and sourcing materials with a manufacturer in New York. He hopes to run test marketing this spring before finalizing his design.
Bird credits his Tech experience with giving him a more realistic view of the career he wants to pursue. “I feel like I’m way ahead of everyone else, this has gotten me out into the world,” he said. Although his time on the Tech campus does take away some of the time he would spend with friends at Webster, Bird says he doesn’t mind “because I’m too occupied with what I’m doing here.” Amy Bird, Alex’s mom, agrees that Tech has given her son a great jumpstart. “He can be the person he wants to be at Tech – he reinvented himself here,” she said. Mrs. Bird feels that assumptions about Tech students not being college are unwarranted, citing that her son’s experiences have contributed to his college readiness.
Arizona State will provide Bird with his next opportunity to invent when he begins studying Business and Entrepreneurship next fall. He was accepted into the Leader’s Academy in the School of Business and awarded the New American Presidential Scholarship. Bird was drawn to the school as its focus on innovation has earned it recognition as the most innovative school in the United States for the past three years, beating both MIT and Stanford. One of the perks of the program is that all students get access to Tech Shop, an innovation studio and workspace stocked with all of the machinery and tools Alex has been working with in his program at South Tech. He will be spending a significant amount of time there between lectures…and his next invention should be just around the corner.