I actually first thought of this idea seven years ago when I was taking driver’s ed. They told me to pump the brake a few times before I wanted to come to a screeching halt, so as to warn the driver behind me. I thought that was inefficient, seeing as how that was precious time I could be using to prevent myself from rear-ending the guy in front of me. That got me thinking: it seemed wrong that the only way you could tell if a person was slamming on their brakes was by watching for manually flashing brake lights or seeing the weight shift to the front of the car.
So I came up with the idea for an automatic pulsing brake light, much like the one above. I talked to the Invention Submission Corporation (now known as InventHelp) about getting it patented, and they told me it would cost about $10,000. My parents, as supportive as they usually are, were understandably reticent about laying down ten grand for a teenager’s half-baked idea. So I kind of just forgot about it.
I later learned that those invention submission companies are, for the most part, scams. Thanks to Stephen Key, I found out that you can spend about $100 on a provisional patent and have your idea protected for a year while you try to license it to companies. So I looked into doing that for the pulsing brake lights, then found out it was too late. Someone had already patented the idea.
This has happened to me many times with other ideas, so I’m not heartbroken. It’s just another one of those moments where you silently kick yourself for not having the knowledge back in the day. Oh well.