It's a frustrating situation most drivers are all too familiar with.
You lose your grip and suddenly your keys, spare change, credit card or afternoon snack has disappeared into the black hole between the centre console and the driver's seat.
North Vancouver resident Kenn Buxton has invented a device that he hopes will spare drivers the unpleasant task of pawing around blindly beneath the car seat. It's called ODii and it features a four-pronged telescopic claw, a telescopic detachable magnet and a detachable LED light to locate and retrieve objects that have fallen into hard-to-reach places.
The idea came to Buxton while he was driving his daughter to elementary school one morning. On the way, he stopped to pick up a coffee at the Tim Horton's drive-thru at West Queens Road and Lonsdale Avenue.
"I dropped a crisp five dollar bill down the gap," recalls the real estate agent. Moving the driver's seat back and forth did nothing to reveal the bill. Even his young daughter, with arms slimmer and more nimble than his own, could not retrieve the lost money.
Later that day, Buxton visited the local auto stores and big box retailers in hopes of finding a tool he could use to fetch the fiver and keep handy when other items, such as his iPhone, which has been known to slip out of his pocket while driving, fall into the automobile abyss.
"I quickly realized that there's nothing on the market," he says.
That was his "aha" moment. Buxton thought to himself, "I need to develop something like this that everyone keeps in their car to solve this frustrating problem."
After much research and development, ODii was born. Designed to fit inside a glove compartment, its extendable claw can lift about five pounds and its detachable magnet can pick up two pounds. Buxton recently surpassed his $10,000 fundraising goal on Kickstarter and plans to start production in Shanghai next month with an initial run of 5,000 units.
"Once we're done, the first 3,000 are going to go right to Bed Bath Beyond," he says, noting the suggested retail price of $29.99. ODii will also be available online at myodii.com and Buxton says Canadian Tire and select Rona, Home Hardware and Audi dealership locations have all expressed interest in carrying the gadget.