On Thursday, April 13, the top 12 semifinalists were revealed and were given $50,000 each to further develop their products. In the upcoming weeks, we will focus on one of our expert judges to see how they mentor their three semifinalists and guide them through the process of working with product designers, packaging companies, marketing executives and product testing. In an ultimate challenge, the inventors will have their new and improved product tested to see if it delivers, and each judge will face the difficult decision of choosing one of his/her three to move on to the final round, one step closer to winning one million dollars and becoming the next great AMERICAN INVENTOR. AMERICAN INVENTOR, the embodiment of the ultimate American dream from Simon Cowell and the producers of AMERICAN IDOL, airs Thursdays (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
The semifinalists include (listed in groups with their mentor/judge in order of airdate):
Ed Evangelista′s group of inventors includes (airs Thursday, April 20, 9:00-10:01 p.m.):
Mark Martinez, 43, a self-employed handyman from Chino, CA. His invention is the Sackmaster 2000, the one-man, one-scoop sandbag shovel.
Sheryl MacDonald, 41, a former airline service agent from Van Nuys, CA. Her invention is The Un-brella, an umbrella that inverts inward and folds up into its own handle to make it easier to close in windy and wet situations.
Erik Thompson, 40, a factory worker and the owner of a gym from Detroit, MI. His invention is the Receiver′s Training Pole, a detachable vest that football players and other athletes can wear to train and develop proper catching skills.
Mary Lou Quinlan′s group of inventors includes (airs Thursday, April 27, 9:00-10:01 p.m.):
Jerry Wesley, 51, a correctional officer with the California Department of Corrections in San Diego, CA. His invention is the EZ-X Portable Gym, a compact, portable gym system which features collapsible bars and interlocking weights so that the user can do a variety of different weight training exercises with one device.
Darla Davenport-Powell, 48, a wife and mother of three children from Los Angeles, CA. Her invention is Here Comes Niya Doll, a trilingual doll that speaks in English, Spanish and Swahili, teaching children language skills and the importance of ethnic diversity.
Francisco Patino, 19, who was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, currently a student at Queens College in New York who also runs a carpet cleaning business with his uncle. His invention is the Double Traction Bike, a new bike design that features a second seat on the handlebars of the bicycle, so that a second rider can sit up front and help power the bike with his/her own set of pedals.
Peter Jones′ group of inventors includes (airs Thursday, May 4, 8:00-9:01 p.m.): Jodi Pliszka, 39, a healthcare case manager, a wife and mother of a nine-year old daughter from Muskego, WI. Jodi suffers from Alopecia, a medical condition that caused her to lose all of her hair. Her invention is the Headliner, a lightweight disposable liner that is worn underneath wigs, hats or helmets, providing comfort and protection from perspiration and oils.
Ed Hall, 40, a former elementary and high school teacher and coach who lives in Chicago, IL. His invention is the Word Ace, an electronic table-top game for 1-6 players that teaches children spelling and vocabulary skills in a fun, interactive way.
Robert Amore, 46, a youth hockey coach and lives in New York City. His invention is the Tonerbelt, a fitness belt featuring two handles on retractable cords. The belt is worn around the waist, and the user pulls on the cords for resistance training, which provides a cardio workout and builds strength.
Doug Hall′s group of inventors includes (airs Thursday, May 4, 9:00-10:01 p.m.):
Sharon Clemens, 63, a retired sales associate and lives in Huntington Beach, CA. Her invention is the Restroom Door Clip, a small plastic clip that attaches to the top of a restroom stall to hold the door closed when the stall latch is broken.
Joseph and Jennifer Safuto, 47 and 32, who share their Los Angeles, CA home with Joe′s 12 year-old twin daughters. Joe is a performing magician, comedian and singer and Jenny is a makeup artist. Their invention is the Flushpure, a new kind of toilet seat lid that filters out bacteria and other harmful particles that normally escape when you flush the toilet.
Janusz Liberkowski, 52, a mechanical engineer in San Jose, CA. He and his wife are parents to twins. Their older daughter passed away in a car accident seven years ago, which inspired Janusz to create the Spherical Safety Seat, a new kind of infant car seat where the baby sits inside nested spheres, hopefully saving children′s lives in an auto collision.
AMERICAN INVENTOR′s panel of expert judges includes show co-creator Peter Jones, one of the UK′s most successful entrepreneurs, who has created a $500 Million Business empire; Doug Hall, an inventor, bestselling author and radio host, and also the founder and CEO of Eureka! Ranch, an inventing, training and research firm; Ed Evangelista, an executive creative director at the New York headquarters of JWT; and Mary Lou Quinlan, founder and CEO of Just Ask a Woman, one of the premiere women′s marketing companies in the U.S. Matt Gallant (host of Animal Planet′s THE PLANET′S FUNNIEST ANIMALS) hosts.