MARK Martinez - Sackmaster 2000 (now the Sacmaster),

SHERYL McDonald - The Un-brella (now the In-brella) and

ERIC Thompson - Receiver's Training Pole (now the Catch).

They each have 4 WEEKS AND $50,000 TO DEVELOP THEIR PRODUCTS and then put them to the test. They have jus 30 days to perfect their invention. Then, it’s BOOM OR BUST. Two get cut, one moves forward.

Erik Thompson is up first. Ed says that he has a very small market. He needs a good name for his product. Calls a focus group to find out info. Not very good. All the participants generally don’t like it. Eric gets the call that his rent is due on his gym. And it sounds like he doesn’t have the cash.

Next… Sheryl – Ed says the Un-brella isn’t a great name. It's too negative. Good thing in my opinion. Because the GustBuster uses that exact same language to describe their product. I saw it in SkyMall magazine on United Airlines yesterday. She needs to make some changes to the product and wishes her life partner was there to help her make the decision. She’s not and has to go it alone.

Mark – Ed suggests Mark makes some changes. Be a little more open minded. Maybe add a strap, change the color. Mark holds a focus group, they can see other uses. Mark says it’s only for saving lives. Then the product design people suggest he make some changes. Make it more compact. Ed wants him to change the name. Mark fires the product design company.

TRAININGPOLEPROTOYPE Eric works on making his invention look great.

Sheryl watches her protypes “grow” and become real. Cries.

Mark goes to a new company to have the product color changed. Decides to spend very little on his product, and instead, spends $2500 on himself and some new clothes. SACMASTERPACKAGINGMark's new company produces a box for packaging the Sacmaster and puts the logo on the Sacmaster. Mark loves the new product and packaging.

INBRELLA INBRELLA2Sheryl sees her prototype, but unfortunately, the automatic feature couldn’t be done in time, and the way it closes is manual.


Eric gets to show the judges his stuff. He shows them a video of a highschool team that used his the Catch. It seems to work. Doug’s not sure about the mass appeal.

Sheryl – renames the product to the Inbrella They tested it at a racetrack. It works OK… but is a bit large, and didn’t work each time. Peter says it’s too big, it’s cumbersome. Ed says it’s different.

Mark – Took the Sacmaster to New Orleans to give it a test. There are still less than 200 people in their homes out of 26,000 homes in this one Parish. The test works, flawlessly. Ordinary people fill nearly 40 more sandbags than a team of relief workers doing it the old fashioned 2-man way. Unfortunately, Mark cheaped out. He says he spent $20,000. If that’s the case, he spent too much, in my opinion. He didn’t’ spend ANY money on a strap, which he was asked to do. He didn’t refine his product as much as he could. He was frankly, too stubborn. But hey, maybe he knows better and decided pocketing 30G was the way to go.

Ed makes the final decision. Mark is up first. Ed says when he first came in it was a no brainer. Saves lives. Saves time. Eric. Says it’ll mean he can pay off debt. Send his kids to college. It means everything. It’s big. Ed says he’s got a fire in him. Sheryl’s up next. Ed says her idea was real small to start. But her commitment was like a train that kept going… but unfortunately … BUST. She won’t be moving forward. But should be proud. Originally, the show stated that the final 9 (final 12?) each would have a chance to have there products optioned for royalties even if they didn’t make it to the final rounds. So maybe we’ll see a smaller, automatic version of the INBRELLA sometime soon with a sticker that says "As seen on AI".

Ed talks to Mark about how closed minded he was and is disappointed. Decides that he will not be moving forward. BUST. But you know what… it’s still a great idea, even if there are other things out there that are similar. If it brings this idea to the frontlines where something so simple can make a HUGE difference, this show will have been a success. I’d bet something like this soon becomes an essential tool for rescue workers everywhere.

Ed says Eric is a fighter and he’s a survivor and guess what? Yup. He’s staying (or as Ed put it "You're not going home"). Eric says he won’t let Ed down. Gives him a big man hug. BOOM. Key sappy music… for their journey home. NEXT WEEK MARY LOU DECIDES THE FATE OF THE NEXT THREE CONTESTANTS. 

Apr 20, 2006
by boardbra (not verified)

Mark made such a mistake.

Mark made such a mistake. He had the best invention, but lost because of his inability to work with others or take constructive criticism. I am angry that he had access to the best of the best and wouldn't listen to them. Give me a chance to spend 50,000 on my product, please. He basically got a box out of the whole thing. He squandered an opportunity because he thought he knew better than the expert help that he had.

Apr 20, 2006
by Think Outside T...
Think Outside The Circle's picture

Totally agree.

Mark blew it. He had great test footage. A product the world could use. Maybe not a mass market thing, but needed none the less. With 50G I could have done a lot with his product. Let's see, maybe I would have made it retractable, sort of like an accordian fold, so it could collapse easily. Much like the plastic drain pipes at Home Depot. I would have looked at the same device and said, hmmmm... could this be a novel beach toy. Maybe I should make it reflective. Or add a light to it somehow.

50G. What I would do with that for my inventions. Oh well.

Apr 20, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Mark Martinez did blow it.

I had seen the first episode where the sackmaster 2000 caught my eye. Yes, it really had the greatest potential of what I saw go thru the auditions. But in 4 weeks and to spend only $20 out of $50. And what was it with $2500 for fixing himself up. I think he should have listened to the focus group. Have you ever stepped onto a pile of leggos. His device would have been a great help with gathering up other things. maybe in different sizes.

The unwillingness to listen cost that man so much. I used to work in the industry whre sand bags were a part of emergency situations. It still is such a promising thing.

Apr 20, 2006
by Dan (not verified)

I'm still not sure Eric's

I'm still not sure Eric's "Receiver's Training Pole" (now "The Catch"?) does what he says it does. He just doesn't have hard proof that training this way leads to less fumbles or more catches. Mark's video showing an average family making more sandbags with his product than a professional sandbagging team really made the point that his idea actually works.

But this is "American Inventor", not "American Invention". And Eric has certainly shown himself to be a smart, canny salesman. In each situation he's faced so far, he's tailored his pitch and tone to the moment. In the first round, he needed to capture their attention, and so he was outrageous. It was quite a surprise to see him reveal a different, more thoughtful, sedate personality behind the showman as he moved into the semi-finals.

And, let's face it, he's easy to root for. He's a character. That counts in this competition. (I couldn't help but wonder, though: If Mark could spend a few thousand on a new suit, couldn't Eric have paid the rent on his gym?)

As for Sheryl, she had the problems you'd expect from someone starting late with an invention out of her skillset. It seemed she was so amazed to be making anything at all that she forgot to make the right thing. But, surprisingly, I put an equal amount of blame on her design team as well. No one should have let her continue to the next stage without focusing on making it smaller and more portable. These are supposed to be professionals, and yet they let her (and their reputation) fail on national television. If Sheryl had come to the next round with a smaller prototype, she might still be in the game. Her designers let her down.

On the merits of the invention alone, the Sacmaster ought to have won this round. I can even understand Mark's unwillingness to change the design. He's probably gone through a number of protoypes already, and doesn't want designers unfamiliar with his product to repeat mistakes he's already made and learned from. But the strap. The strap! Fifty thousand dollars, and he doesn't even have the strap perfect? Just for that, he deserved to lose.

I'm sure it won't be hard for him to find a manufacturer who'll want to make and sell it now that it's been featured on national prime time television. All in all, I'm glad that Eric was the one bumped to the next round. He makes a good final candidate. But I'm still rooting for Janusz Liberkowski and his car seat to make good and be the ultimate winner.

Apr 21, 2006
by Bob (not verified)

I agree that Mark’s

I agree that Mark’s sandbag filler is a useful invention that really works. I think he would have won this round if not for his arrogance and the new threads. Sheryl did sort of blow it due to lack of experience and her design team. However, the judges should have taken into consideration that the “In-brella” she presented was still a prototype and is a mechanical device that would, of course, require more time to design and perfect. It was not a piece of plastic that could be easily molded as the other contestant’s products were.

Now on to Eric’s “The Catch”. I have been teaching kids and coaching football for 16 years and I can tell you that Eric is correct about one thing, you have to catch that perfectly thrown chest-high football, out in front with your hands. However, the fact of matter is that this catching/teaching aid will ONLY improve someone’s technique with a perfectly thrown ball (or near perfect) that the receiver is directly facing and then only from the receiver’s waist to his chin. The truth is that most passes are not perfect. I cannot see where this device would improve a player’s ability to catch a high or low thrown ball or a ball to the side. Actually, if a receiver had to go down to the ground for the ball the device might injure him or her. For kids (and pros alike), a good portion of the passes on a running rout are thrown a little behind or in front of the receiver where the device would be of no use.

I also am having a little difficulty with Eric’s video of the high school team improving their skills after one practice session. Most kids learn their athletic skills at an early age and it takes time and a lot of repetition to break someone of bad habits. Sorry, but I cannot believe that someone who has a difficult time in properly catching a football can greatly improve their skills in one or two practices.

As to why Eric won this round, he simply got the sympathy vote. I am not one to participate in the voting for these types of shows and I have never voted for any “Idol” but I will be casting my vote for Mr. Liberkowski and his car seat. I have a new grandson and I wish this product was on the market today.

Apr 21, 2006
by Wade (not verified)


I think prototyping/developing was really important for the inventors, and there were lots of improvements that needed to be done for each invention.

Mark - A nice guy(I stood next to him in line during the first rounds) I knew his invention was big, since first sight. He should have let the designers modify/revise his product. To make it compact, they hould have made the handle part 'telescoping' and maybe a collapsable scooper mouth. In my opinion, he would have won if he only did these simple things. Imagine packaging it in a much smaller box, Ed would have been impressed when he pulled off the cape! You have to think about inventory/shipping issues when you design a prototype/product, smaller is better! He wasted his opportunity by being closed minded. This invention would save lives (in addition to baby car seat) so it should have advanced, but unfortunately it wasn't allowed to.

Sheryl - The product designers messed up her product. Their design was really bad. I wouldn't have done what they did, it looked heavy and big, like a baseball bat! Her self-made prototype was better than what they made for her. She got the bad designers to do her product, it was their mistake. Otherwise, I think her product definitely had the largest market (everyone could use an umbrella, as opposed to SackMaster or Football Receiving Pole).

Eric - He deserved to advance. Not much changed, just cosmetics/ergonomics to the product design. Note that he took alot of notes when Ed explained what he wanted. Eric is OPEN-MINDED. The prototyping company did a good job with it! That's the trait of a successful inventor, he had the best answers to the judges, he's spontaneous and verbally creative. I wish him luck in America's vote!

Apr 21, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Mark did blow it. He has a

Mark did blow it. He has a design patent only-which means anyone can make subtle changes in the pattern of the sandbagger. Hence the one on www.gobagger.com doesn't infringe. Mark did change the color to yellow which is the same as gobaggers. Mark had the chance to improve the design for a utility patent (such as collapsing it for a smaller unit for easier transport. Also, other uses such as leaves was not one he liked and let them know. (His attitude also did him in). This is similiar to American Idol in that people will vote who they like sometimes before their talent.

Apr 21, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Ed blew it by chosing the

Ed blew it by chosing the Catch over the In-brella. The In-brella malfunctioned twice. Remember this was the "B" Model and there wasn't time for the "A" one. This invention is of different make up from the www.wonderbrella and has 100 times the market potential of the Catch. The Catches prototype could not even be tested because as Eric said "it would break". All a football coach has to do to prevent his players from catching the ball off their bodies is to make them go shirtless. The sting will remind them they are catching the ball wrong. For more sting capability the coach can use a "VOLT" hard rubber type of football. Also, the Catch has limited restriction of catching the football.

Apr 21, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Ed made the right choice

This round is supposed to test the inventor's ability to improve and sell their product. Mark sold it, but didn't improve it. Sheryl improved it, but didn't sell it. Erik did both, and deservedly moved on. I still think he's going to ge schooled in the Final Four, though.

Apr 21, 2006
by Andy (not verified)

Mark really blew it!

Mark, really blew it. He could have used this product to launch
a whole product line. I can envision a larger scoop one called
the leafmaster. How about small version to use in the kitchen for filling
bags or containers called the kitchenmaster, or a general purpose
smaller one called the scoopmaster. He was too narrow minded and
that is really too bad because he has a great invention. Who knows
with a little development there could have been a whole bag line
to go with it. Sand bags that work exclusively with the sackmaster.
That would have been a consumable and then you are talking about making
big bucks.

Apr 21, 2006
by Ravindra (not verified)

Narrow mind cost him an opportunity

Poor fellow is too stubborn to change anything. See what happened if you let down expert advice. Inventors think in only one angle. Personal angle.Others see it differently. I think he spent too much time on the product to bring to this stage and thought there would be nothing to improve. What a mistake.I personally liked it than the other 2 in this round. Speaking of it, I kind of liked the www.gobagger.com product too. 20K for a cardboard box? Do they have to return the unused money?

Apr 21, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Gobagger (the boxy imitation) SUCKS!!!!

I've tried the GoBagger. It's square and short.Your picking up all
the weight of the sand when you use it.On the other hand the Sackmaster has
enough volume to scoop into the sand liening the scoop up and
lifting just the weight of the shovel.Unlike it's boxy imitation.If the gobagger was any good people would have heard of it.Sounds like they are t
trying to glom on to the Sackmasters new found glory

Apr 21, 2006
by bottleslingguy
bottleslingguy's picture

Pain is a good motivator.

"All a football coach has to do to prevent his players from catching the ball off their bodies is to make them go shirtless. The sting will remind them they are catching the ball wrong."

I can't argue with that! (=0

But I disagree the vests will have either no effect or even a negative effect on the kids. Forcing the kids to avoid putting their hands in the wrong place is no different than how boxers tie their feet with string to keep them in the right place. It's the same principle.

To me they seem like one more tool in a coaches arsenal.
I think they deserve a chance to be properly tested over a longer period of time. I think it's a very good idea.

Please check out my invention at .

Apr 21, 2006
by bottleslingguy
bottleslingguy's picture

"He could have used this

"He could have used this product to launch
a whole product line."

My advice to you is get to work. It sounded fishey when he kept on saying the shovel was 95% finished. I wondered why he wouldn't want to work on that last 5%. At the end of the show it said on the screen that portions were edited that didn't affect the outcome. Maybe it's nothing but it made me wonder what was taken out, then I thought, maybe Mark COULDN'T change the design because he only had a design patent. Because if he didn't have a patent he should've been soaking up as much professional advice as possible and let them do all the work.

" I can envision a larger scoop one called
the leafmaster..."

All excellent ideas. We'll have to add to the list (and I'm really sorry for this cheap joke but I can't resist) the POOPMASTER.

Please check out my invention at .

Apr 22, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

All of you are bright but not right...

I can only say bloggers that you are on the outside of what has gone on. If you knew the details you would understand why Mark did not want to change much. In time I will tell all. Not now. Soon.

Apr 23, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Who had the best Invention?

We have no clue how things really happen.This show was so edited.So don't judge the person.Judge the product.Who had the best Invention?

Apr 23, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Mark with hands down had the

Mark with hands down had the best invention.And you are right we really don't know how things really happen.It's T.V.they edit anything they like.

Apr 23, 2006
by Sally (not verified)

Bag versus Catch

I predicted The Catch would win because the bagger really is "95% done" (just another way of saying "it's done" without committing totally). The bagger is as ready to go as the children's character books that were ready for market. So sell it already! Someone is probably already in contact with him to buy it and we'll see it on shelves soon. And my bet is that it will be collapsible for storage.

Meanwhile The Catch is a great idea. Yeah maybe kids would catch better if you made them go shirtless--but not for younger boys! Just try getting that kind of "abuse" by our over-protective parents! They'd rather buy something in the $20-50 range that will make their children better. A tiny tot version of The Catch would totally sell for boys (maybe some girls) 5-10 years old. In this case the market isn't disposable teen's money, it's parent's desperate Christmas gift money. This could be the Hot Toy for young boys this year. Nobody knows what else to get them anyway. Moms will let the dads indulge on it even as high as $50 or 60 because it's better than another video game.

Apr 24, 2006
by ramsbaby

This is the Mark I know

Hollywood made Mark Martinez out to be arrigant and hard to work with.Well the Mark that I met was not like that at all.A few years ago he walked in to my fire house and donated a Sackmaster to us. We didn't know what to think until he demonstrated it.And we seen the value in it.He never once pitched his product for money.That showed me his intergrity.I don't believe the image they portrayed of Mark was a true one. I for one being in the Fire & Rescue field See the value in this product.
I also like the Car seat invention. I've seen too many car accidents with kids in cheap car seats.I hope that guy wins.

Apr 24, 2006
by ramsbaby

The inbrela is so much

The inbrela is so much better than the football catch thing. for many reasons.HOW MANY GIRLS PLAY FOOTBALL? THERE GOES HALF THE POPULATION.Next how about all the kids that play soccer which runs at the same time. Some kids just are not cut out for football. That leaves a small group who won't buy a new one every year. Eric's invention is not practical and he does not deserve to go on to the next round. He will just be away from home longer and be more in debt Is it true he has 8 kids? Thats why he's in so much debt. WELL GOOD LUCK YOUR GOING TO NEED IT!!! Next you should invent something to slap ignorant judges "DOUG'S A MORON" He should invent something so he dosen't come off like such a jack ass!! Ed lost all creditability [MR ED] Mary lou your the only one with a clue.WE STILL LUV YOU!!!!!

Apr 25, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Better for Mark

It is probably better for Mark that he didn't advance. That way, he only loses one year to ABC for the right to manufacture and market his product instead of the possible 5 years if he wins. He'll be in a better position to make more money for himself with it because as everyone comments here, it is definitely one of the best products in the final 12. I live in a flood prone area and have personally had to deal with sandbagging a couple of different times. What I wouldn't have given for Mark's device! And as for the GoBagger - the design is crap and they are selling it for WAY TOO much, in my opinion!

Apr 27, 2006
by Jeannie Benigno (not verified)


I am so glad it's Eric who's advancing to the finals. He deserves it because he's savvy, he speaks from his heart, open-minded, and just seems like a really good man! Mark, on the other hand,is so close-minded and just wanted to pocket the rest of the money for his own use. He made that stupid mistake because he really had a nice product. The In-Brella was too big, clumsy and just not properly designed. Plus, Cheryl wasn't that likable. Eric was so clever to answer the judges, "Why you... because Eric is in American Inventor". He's also witty!