Paul Armstrong '14 graduated from IYRS's 6-month Composites Technology more than ready to launch his new career in the marine industry. He had spent the last six months immersed in learning about designing and building with advanced composites. Leaving IYRS, he quickly started his own marine mobile detailing business in Newport which grew from restoring boats to maintaining them, building a large clientele in the process. From there, Paul started yet another business offering boat shrink wrapping services.
But after starting and growing these two businesses from the ground up, Paul wanted to incorporate his IYRS education into his career still further. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and this is true for Paul's newest company and invention, LOKT Charge.
LOKT is a specially shaped electrical outlet cover that creates a semi-permanent barrier over your phone charger, creating an anti-theft stationary charger that can stay in the wall. Paul credits his IYRS education with his ability to design and fabricate this simple but incredibly useful product. “If it wasn’t for learning the process of vacuum bagging and creating a mold at IYRS, I don’t think I would have ever created my first prototype," Paul says.
Uses include any location where requests to borrow a charger are made - and where aren't they? Libraries, restaurants, classrooms, dorms...the potential is unlimited. Normally the answer would be, "No, sorry. We don't loan them" and that reason is simply because they can walk off with the borrower. With LOKT, locations like these simply screw LOKT into the wall instead of a traditional outlet cover with a charger inside. Bingo - no more chargers walking out the door and the customer is happy.
"In the early stages of it, 3D printing was relatively new, and it was very expensive to buy a printer, so I felt I had to do it the old school way. Now I have issued patents, 3D printers for working on different prototypes and small design flaws. I’ve also made good friends, inventors, and connected with entrepreneurs. After years of hard work, I finally have a Kickstarter campaign that will be launched soon!”
Paul looks back fondly on his time at IYRS. “It was great to watch everyone’s projects come to life; everyone has different hobbies or ideas. It was fun feeding off each other’s ideas and helping them along the process.”
Check out this video about LOKT!