Gilroy man tows around a new idea

Bracco’s truck driver Michael Voorhees hopes his design for a

Getting a good night’s sleep may soon be a lot more fun for
children thanks to a Gilroy man who invented a battery-operated
children’s bed that is modeled after a real tow truck.
Getting a good night’s sleep may soon be a lot more fun for children thanks to a Gilroy man who invented a battery-operated children’s bed that is modeled after a real tow truck.

Michael Voorhees, who works with tow trucks every day of his life as an employee at Bracco’s Towing Company in Gilroy, created the idea for the Battery Powered Tow Truck.

The idea he says is inspired by his 18-month-old son, who loves trucks.

“I know my son would love sleeping in something like this,” Voorhees said.

This tow truck functions as a small child’s bed with fun accessories to entice children into a peaceful night’s sleep, according to developers. The 12-volt, battery-powered flatbed truck is designed to fit a child ages 3- to 8-years-old.

Many childhood sleep problems are related to irregular sleep habits or to anxiety about going to bed and falling asleep, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent psychiatry (AACAP). Voorhees hopes his invention can make going to bedtime a little less stressful.

“I wanted to create something that would make going to sleep fun and comfortable for children,” Voorhees said. “The toy business does not have anything like it. Sure there are other types of children’s beds that are similar, but this is going to be a lot more extravagant.”

At first glance one will notice that battery operated lights illuminate the top of the cab to create a nightlight, while toolbox-style clothing drawers line each of the truck’s side panels. Steps are positioned at the back to create an easy way for children to safely climb into bed. Voorhees says that lettering and decals also will be made available so children can customize their own trucks.

Voorhees originally submitted his idea for the battery powered tow truck, along with five other ideas, in November to Invention Technologies, an invention-consulting firm based in Florida.

“Our job is to provide patent research to make sure no one has come up with the same idea already,” said Mario Perez, an employee at Invention Technologies. “We can then move forward on promoting it and finding manufacturers to develop it.”

The product received its official patent Jan. 29, and Voorhees says he is very happy with the way things are going.

“It’s rockin and rolling right now, and I have four to five interested manufactures.”

Voorhees estimates that the finished product will have a selling price between $250 and $300 dollars.

The process has been a long one, but March 3 the tow truck received representation at the technology transfer conference and expo in Chicago, where manufacturers from all over the world come to check out new inventions and evaluate products. Manufactures then decide if they want to invest in the product.

“The response I got was great, and I am very confident that the Battery Powered Tow Truck will be created in the next 6 months,” Voorhees said.

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