View Full Version : Zeta Launcher: Permanent Magnet Propulsion for Kids & Adults

09-06-2012, 02:20 PM
"I was at the toy store this past winter with my son. He was mesmerized by those vintage-like wooden train sets connectable by magnets, but I was turned off by the prices. But after looking at them for a while I started to see he was largely fascinated with the magnet aspects and the movement above all else, not really the designs so much or the cartoon faces on them. Then the wheels began to turn in my head...the joy in my child's eyes is priceless, so I bought him a starter set for Christmas, and studied this train set for weeks...by observation only really. But I began to think to myself, and I think I even mentioned it out loud to my wife, ya know, the only thing preventing this toy from being something for all ages is the speed...what little there is. Well, I had just finished grant-funded research where I had found a number of magnetic properties that were either little known or completely unknown and I almost instantly had the connection: my magnetic propulsion discovery + toy car = cool toy. The Zeta Trax idea was born and Pebblebrook Toys, Inc. was formed. People all around me began to gravitate toward the project. The only demo I had at the time was something made from scrap parts at Lowe's or Home Depot, to prove the principle...the rest were concept drawings. But once I acquired some small investment from friends and family, and began to build a small design team, prototypes began to surface, ending with the Zeta Launcher design, not exactly a connectable train set just yet, but its a start. My son first saw the CAD drawings of the prototype months earlier and began crying after I explained he could not yet have the toy...it had to be made first. He didn't get that...thought stores were the magical place were everything could be obtained. But when I did bring home this $3k+ prototype toy, he almost cried again...this time with excitement, played with it for days until I needed to take it back to work. He was our first Beta Tester. Now I explain that I need to make more for many other kids, and he now understands why I have to leave each day for work. He never got that before. Now every day, 'going to make toys today, Daddy?' I wonder if Santa's elves feel like this." - Jeff Cook