30 FOCUS - JULY 2018 Operated by Rogers Communications Readers’ Choice Awards PORTPERRYSTAR 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards PORTPERRYSTAR 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards PORTPERRYSTAR 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards PORTPERRYSTAR 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards PORTPERRYSTAR 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards PORTPERRYSTAR 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards PORTPERRYSTAR 2015 (905) 985-8171 customerservice@compton.net www.compton.net GET YOUR BUSINESS MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION WITH HIGH SPEED INTERNET AND PHONE SERVICE FROM BUSINESS MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEBSITE! Voted Best Internet Provider 7 years in a row A D APPROVED FOR USE BY M ETROLANDMEDIA electronics, based on ‘battlebot’ tech- nology, to control the unit.” His background in metalworking provided a useful assist as the project motored ahead. Adding his inven- tion to a common yard work device, he welded the frame he’d built to a standard grass-cutting unit, minus its handle. The remote-controlled lawnmow- er was born. Bryan now cuts his grass by ma- noeuvering the unit with a joy-stick controller. He carefully monitors its progress as it nears the edges of his property, adjusts its trajectory, and re- verses its direction – in the same man- ner a human pushing the unit would. “It’s no faster than cutting the grass the usual way,” he says, “but it’s a lot more fun.” And I’ll bet you get some odd looks…. “Suredo,”helaughs.“Everyone who passes by wants to know about it.” With such an active imagination, Bryan naturally aspired to improve his initial creation. He added a weed eater (which would ultimately prove unsuccessful), as well as a gyro system, allowing the unit to track a straighter course (which was). “There’s been an important evolu- tion which has helped me develop these devices, and the gyro’s a great example,” Bryan says. “The price of electronic components has decreased significantly over the last couple dec- ades. Back then, I could have added a functional gyro, but the cost would have been prohibitive.” Bryan recently entered his fin- ished product in the appropriately- named “Ultimate Figure-it-Outer” contest, sponsored by auto parts giant Princess Auto. [Ed. Note: The timing of the contest’s closing did not allow us to print the results of its voting, but these will be published at a later date.] Chosen as one of twenty finalists among 600 entries, Bryan watches the updated standings daily as his invention straddles third and fourth places in the voting. The top three, he reports hopefully, will be featured in a reality TV show filming at the end of this summer. “It’ll present the finalists with a se- ries of engineering challenges over a three-day period,” he explains of the show, whose conditions seem to land squarely in his wheelhouse. Other than his continued interest in the context of the contest, Bryan has moved on from the mower. “I teach and mentor participants in a ‘Space Maker’ setting. Inventors who have short-term need for work- space rent a facility, which is fully equipped, in the same way you might a gym for a pickup basketball game.” At the same time, he remains ex- traordinarily busy on his own. “I design and build motorcycles, restore cars, pilot a high-speed remote- controlled boat. My wife is a very tal- ented director with the Borelians, so I help her by building sets.” His creative mind is equally occupied. “I’m close to completing a weed- cutter for use in lakes. And my next project is a computerized guitar player!” Sounds like the stuff of science fiction, that one. But if someone had proposed a remote-controlled lawn mower, at one time a skeptic might easily have had the same reaction; so a computer-driven guitarist may be entirely realistic. As with any innova- tion, it will inevitably raise the bar of progress a notch higher. And who knows where that might lead! By Scott Mercer, Focus on Scugog Not only is he the ultimate inventor, he and his wife Helen designed their home together. Bryan Coughlin (continued from page 29) PHOTOS BY MARYANN FLEMING