A personal lighthouse

“Find pizza near me.” “How do I get to the airport?” That’s how we’re used to using locater tech. It makes sense when you’re exploring a new city. We don’t typically use it to find our own property. Why not? Picture it. It’s a beautiful evening on the lake. You sit back, grab a cold one, and watch the sunset. It’s easy to lose track of time on the lake. That’s the point. Suddenly, it’s dark and you’re not sure how to get back to the cabin.

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Enter Tucker Richardson (left) and Mikhael Teryohin (right) with a solution so simple you can’t believe it doesn’t already exist. They’re working on a locating beacon for your dock. It’s in the prototype phase, but here’s what we know so far. It’s a two-part system that works like a long-distance remote control. 1) You mount a light to your dock. 2) You carry around a 433Mhz transmitter on your keychain and use it to flash that light.

No surprise here, the idea came to Richardson on the lakes. “I like designing to scratch my own itch…If I design something I would use, probably somebody would do the same,” says Richardson.

He’s a lakes kid to the core. He practically grew up on the boy scout camp where his dad worked. “It was great…I learned things early in life some may never learn [like] how to accept different people. You can imagine the type of person who would choose to spend three months in a tent may not be the most popular kid in school.”

Richardson is a born inventor. “The 4th grade invention fair was the biggest day of my life. I made a tackle box organizer. You can take out sections of the box and stick them to the sides of the boat.”

Richardson studied industrial engineering and management at North Dakota State University. He and Teryohin now operate Fargo Made, a company devoted to supporting local makers, including themselves. Fargo Made started with a stand-up desk they designed. They expanded to include work from other local makers. Richardson says they also wanted to offer an e-commerce platform for designers and manufacturers. “People who work with their hands don’t like sitting and grinding through a website.”

The next phase of the business is the dock locater. They took the temperature of the market. Turns out lots of people have had trouble finding their docks at night. Now it’s product testing. So far, the water-resistant system works up to a half mile. They prioritize sleek design and streamlining the manufacturing costs. Richardson wouldn’t share the cost of research and development, except to say they’ve spent less than $5,000 in three months of working on it. They’re self-funded through sales from Fargo Made’s stand-up desks. The goal is to keep the end product budget friendly. “Hopefully under $100,” he says.

Another version of the locating beacon could end up on deer stands. They’d have to make minor tweaks, like changing the brightness and color of the light. “You don’t want to scare anything away.”

One last consideration is the name. That’s where you come in. They’re looking to crowd source it. Got an idea? Send it to editor@emergingprairie.com

Hear more at 1 Million Cups. Fargo Made takes the stage Wednesday, October 12, at 9:15 a.m. at The Stage at Island Park.

 

Ashley Thornberg