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128 Birch Street
Boston, MA, 02131
United States

(617) 390-4076

Invent Boston designs and develops products for families to add science + whimsy to the every day tasks.   Our first product is a visual timer, a Two Minute Turtle, to help children focus when they brush teeth, evenly and for two minutes.

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Blog

Two Minute Turtle Gets Positive Consumer Reviews!

Virginia Berman

Adam L., from Frisco Tx, has 4 children ages 7 months to 8 years old. He doesn't have time to watch over every step of the children's bedtime routine. " Our kids had multiple sand timers but they all ended up broken or lost," Adam said. He searched online for a new toothbrush timer and came across the Two Minute Turtle.  He thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a try.  He did and here's what Adam wrote after a week with the Two Minute Turtle Timer...

"My kids received the turtle timer and have used it twice a day every day since receiving it.  My wife likes the quadrant lights. I like that they brush with it (and it hasn't become a toy yet).   I definitely recommend it to parents!" 

 

Welcome

Virginia Berman

I conceived of Invent Boston while living a busy commuting, parenting life. My husband  and I each commuted 45 minutes to our offices. We rushed to get ourselves and children to their schools and then back home.  We rushed to get food cooked at dinner. We rushed and were tired getting the children to bed.   On those occasions when something surprised me and made the routine go more smoothly--one less reminder, or a moment of ease and joy in the process--I was thrilled. This first product was one worth sharing with others. I hope you'll enjoy the Two Minute Turtle to make the every day at home less hectic even for two minutes.

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Healthy Habits Every Day

Virginia Berman

How do we teach children healthy habits at home?  How can we add structure and play to the tasks children must do?  And specifically how do we get 4 and 5 year olds how to brush teeth thoroughly each night and morning?  We've found a way to motivate children to brush for the full 2 minutes and to brush and evenly through the mouth.  

It's our Two Minute Turtle. This is Invent Boston's first product. We look forward to sharing more products as we develop them in response to our daily challenges of living busy parenting lives while building healthy habits as a family, every day, at home.

I'm Virginia and I will share these tools that help me  and my children get and stick to daily routines.  We design and develop products to make hectic lives a little less so. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to make one daily routine, toothbrushing, a little better. 

Healthy habits keep families around the world alive. Inspired by small coop farmers whose hard work keeps food on the table, every day, we value simple daily habits--even the littlest ones, like toothbrushing.  This Ugandan coffee farmer plants, harvests, carries, cooks and cleans for her family.   Amazing.  And we think we're exhausted at the end of the day?!  photo courtesy of Tracy Powell & Equal Exchange 

Healthy habits keep families around the world alive. Inspired by small coop farmers whose hard work keeps food on the table, every day, we value simple daily habits--even the littlest ones, like toothbrushing.  This Ugandan coffee farmer plants, harvests, carries, cooks and cleans for her family.   Amazing.  And we think we're exhausted at the end of the day?!  photo courtesy of Tracy Powell & Equal Exchange 

5 mistakes/lessons learned from our first home made video

Virginia Berman

  • Get a tripod.  Test it out, practice using the tripod.
  • Find and shoot in an open, clean space (not the heavily used family bathroom for example).
  • Have light--plan for daylight, and bring in lights or foam core to reflect light if necessary. For us, filming children, that meant weekend when the children were not in school.
  • Take still shots of the product separately from the video. 
  • Narrate separately from the video so it's easier to edit.

 

 

Steps to Encase the Toothbrush Timer

Virginia Berman

To make 50 timers we needed to find a solid, light, clear, firm, case with a hole in the middle for the button. Sounds easy.  We tried 3-d printing, using the small  LED candle holders and buying coin holders but nothing has fit yet. So we are using epoxy--strong enough, clear, works but we cannot mass produce this.  It takes us 3 separate pours to make one (each pour needs 48 hours to dry).  We are still on the quest for a solid, clear, hollow case that feels good in a child's hand.  

An early case was 3 D printed in space ship style.  It was pretty but too heavy to mount on the mirror.   

An early case was 3 D printed in space ship style.  It was pretty but too heavy to mount on the mirror. 

 

How Do We Start Healthy Habits?

Virginia Berman

It starts with a leap of faith, reminds me of roller coasterm getting started-you know it will bring you up and down.  And you believe you can do it.  Think big. Start small.  

Say your goal outloud to someone you know. Say it again in a week to remind yourself.  Post it on social media so others have read it.  Even if they may not care nor remember--it makes me, the one who posts it, feel more accountable. 

Anticipate a slip and manage it. i.e. my healthy habit for 2017 is to not worry after 5:00 PM. So if I do, and I know I will for the first part at least, I've said I will write my worry down.  So I know I won't rid my habit (worrying about something at night) but I will try to get out of the habit by becoming aware, writing it down, and slowly, help me to let the worry, and the habit, go

 

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It's Time to Sweat the Details

Virginia Berman

Starting a business is the big abstract, thinking and fantasy time.  What are we creating? Who is it for? What meaningful value do we add? How do we engage with a community?  That was the first year, all while developing the timer. Now that we have made it through 8 iterations of our toothbrush timer prototype we are ready to share with parents.    But, wait, we still have one more piece to complete it-the case for the timer.

How to encase our Toothbrush Timer?  We have a circuit board encased in epoxy. This works for if we make each timer one at a time in our workshop.  But epoxy is not the long term solution. We will need a case that does not need to be made one at a time but where we can make many and we would like one where we could change the batteries when they die.  The case needs to feel good in a child's hand and strong enough to withstand a push from the child's hand.  

So, one last, important detail of the product. We will keep you posted. We are talking with case makers, injection molders, now.  Stay tuned and we will have a timer this year 2017! 

 

 

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A House is Not A Home

Virginia Berman

A house is not a home.   I am not a homebody.

Growing up, cooking was a chore like vacuuming and grocery shopping, to be done, checked off a list.   Taking time to think about meals, spending hours cooking them, lingering over eating them and reveling in new or delicious tastes, were not part of our culture growing up.

Our house was our home base.  None of us liked spending much time inside it but rather preferred getting out and doing something.  And when I lived on my own, long after college, my apartment was also not an inviting nor cozy place to spend time in, but it was a place to launch from, to get ready for the action elsewhere.  I’d return each night sleep and keep my stuff till the next day.

Creating an attractive, cozy and functional house takes effort. We notice it when we are inside it.  We notice homes and places that “work” for us, spaces that “sing”, maybe that is feng shui, but the space anticipates our needs.

My husband is a homebody. He appreciates home and enjoys figuring out adjustments needed to make a corner more comfortable and useful.  His best day is a day at home.  After a few years of marriage, my husband gradually and steadily applied his touch— added shelves to corner space, moved lights to where we needed light and where they looked good, added couches and end tables to facilitate conversation, moved the desks to create work nooks.  Usually moving around what was already in the house

He also had opinions about food. He noticed and critiqued the flavors and textures of meals I cooked.  For him a cooked fish, for example, should have a crusty skin.   What? I was surprised texture, spices mattered so much to him.

And over a year or so of his work in the home, I noticed I was less restless at home.  Instead of running away to the action outside, I was drawn to the wafting homemade waffles, the just-right light for the sitting room and the comfortable chairs placed in the spot for maximum comfort for reading. This gift of turning awkward bare corners into cozy nooks helped our whole family form healthier habits– the designated art table, a puzzle nook for puzzles, homework space, chores time. It felt magical, this gentle order from chaos and I even surprised myself by lingering longer at home before going out.

Children and grown ups alike appreciate cozy and useful spaces.   How do you make your home work for you? Invent Boston brings simple science—a  tool, gadget, or approach--to make home more fun for busy people and families.  These tools are gateways to help us be more present at home.  We hope you discover some fun in them.

What Habit Do You Wish You Had Learned at Home?

Virginia Berman

We have 2 pre-teen children.  With our children now it feels like we have entered a new parenting grade, into the parents of children becoming-independent-but-not-yet-independent. And I'm feeling under the gun to make my final impact--my days are numbered where I can influence my children's daily habits!

I'd love your help. I'd like to hear your thoughts as you reflect.

An Apple A Day

An Apple A Day

Empty Nesters: Which 1 daily habit do you wish you'd given your children now that you see them off on their own in the world?

Recent Independent Living Young Adults:  What habit do you wish your parents had instilled in you since you've been living without them or college?


Please share your advice!

To our daily healthy habits,

Virginia