After recovering from life-changing injury, owner of The Heads Up Lock Company brainstorms new idea for restroom convenience, productivity.
Los Gatos, California — When electronics engineer Bruce Roberts fell out of a tree and broke his neck in 2009, he was left paralyzed, and wheelchair bound. Beside the fact that he almost died that day, he had a feeling that there wasn’t much upside for his life. And yet, in the midst of recovery, hard work, pain, and seemingly countless physical therapy sessions, he regained some function. After a year he learned how to walk again using forearm crutches. He also re-learned how to hold a soldering iron and he wasn’t afraid to use it.
Roberts just wanted to get back to doing his job. An engineer by trade, he decided to start an electronics company. Whether it made money or not, it was a welcome distraction from the pain and trauma he was going through. But the venture turned into much more.
Like so many good ideas in life, Robert’s inspiration came from the most mundane of sources: he had to go to the bathroom. Standing in line at his favorite coffee shop, he felt the urge, but the coffee shop’s restroom was down a long hallway out of sight. Not exactly convenient, especially for someone struggling to relearn how to walk. It’s something even the most able-bodied among us have had to deal with. Is it occupied? Will there be a line? How long will I have to wait? Should I give up my place in line? Until now, we’ve all had to just take our chances.
For Roberts, it was a classic “ah-ha” moment. Wouldn’t it be great if a person could know ahead of time if the restroom was occupied without physically walking to it and trying the door? What would it take to make this simple information available for everyone at low cost? He put on his engineering and design hat and came up with a simple, elegant solution: the Heads-Up Lock.
The Heads Up Lock is an indicator light that can be seen from a distance. It is designed not only for restrooms, but also for nearly any other locked-door situation. It’s affordable and ADA compliant, and it comes as a kit that includes everything needed for installation by a maintenance person or handyman. The indicator light is easily seen up to 300 feet away, and it can be used for any single stall restroom. It is used in offices, commercial buildings, restaurants, manufacturing plants, convenience stores, supermarkets, hair salons, medical clinics, banks, schools … the list goes on. The light can easily be customized to cover multiple viewing areas and doors. Once it is installed there is no maintenance required. If building power goes out, it automatically re-sets itself.
It didn’t take long for the Heads Up Lock to take off, and his customers loved it. “Nothing gives me a bigger thrill than to hear from a customer who’s delighted about how well it works,” says Roberts. “And the benefits are immediate. I’m not selling locks or signs. I’m providing information. Information that increases convenience, productivity, and safety for customers and employees. Everybody benefits.”
Satisfied customers include, Facebook, McDonald’s, Oculus, and Starbucks, to name a few.
“Looking back at my accident 13 years ago, it was unpleasant for sure,” Roberts adds. “I had no idea what my future would hold, but good things came out of it. I had some time on my hands, and the wheels just started turning on that day while I was waiting in line to get my coffee.
My goal is personal. That is to work with business owners in an understanding way. Every restroom is different and requires thought to the layout. So listening is the most important part of my business. By listening, I understand. And by understanding, I gain knowledge to find the best solution to assure their success.”
My advice: If you have an idea, go for it. Get it out there. It could easily be just what people are looking for. You’ll never know unless you give it your best shot, and isn’t that what life is all about?”
For more information, visit: www.headsuplock.com.
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