City Paper is not for tourists
Inventions! We all use them. And Erik Roberts of Bowie, Maryland has another one for us: The Animal Sounds Whistle.
Part hunting call, part See ‘n Say, the Animal Sounds Whistle means to turn regular old human breath into the mighty calls, terrifying growls, and subtle moos of the animal kingdom. Roberts’ lightbulb moment came seven years ago, while visiting the National Zoo with his two young sons. “They were trying to call the animals. Kids do it all the time, they try to make the animal noises,” says Roberts. But when Roberts, 37, checked the gift shop for a whistle that would aid in their animal calls, he discovered that no such thing existed—-yet.
Years later, “I saw this commercial on TV after a court show for InventHelp, that had a caveman beating on a wheel,” says Roberts. “It comes on after Oprah and Judge Mathis.” He called them immediately. After suggesting a couple other inventions—-a child beeper and a video game system that used a built-in camera to superimpose a child’s image on the screen—-Roberts finally hit on a patent-worthy invention with the Animal Sounds Whistle. “I’ve always been thinking about this one, the whistle,” says Roberts. “It’s been on the backburner for the longest time.”
Truck driver by trade, inventor by nature, Roberts says he’s always had a lot of ideas. “I mean, ever since I was like 17 or 18, I’ve just been coming up with things,” says Roberts. “And everything I came up with, a year or two later, I’d see it come out.”
But with patent secured, now it’s Roberts who will be disappointing other would-be animal sound whistlers. Roberts will exhibit his invention at InventHelp’s invention trade show, INPEX, to be held in Pittsburgh this June. He hopes to sell the idea to a distributer—-maybe it will even end up in the zoo. “That’s my dream,” says Roberts.
Roberts says he’s pretty confident he’ll find some takers: “You know, because animals have been around forever, it’s not going to just be some fad.”