The Easy Out Remote Controlled Crate Release product was born out of the inventor’s desire to no longer need to get up every morning at 4 AM and walk down 2 flights of stairs to release the family’s puppy Daisy when she would awaken, realize she was lonely, and start crying. Upon simply providing a 1/2 inch lateral motion with his hand to pull back his puppy’s crate door latch to open it, Daisy would immediately burst through the door past him, run up the stairs, and jump into the inventor’s spot in the bed. The inventor would then have to climb back up the stairs in the dark, cold house, nudge Daisy enough out of his spot to fit back in the bed, and try to go back to sleep. One night it hit him that if he could rig up some type of gizmo to provide that little 1/2 inch lateral motion by remote control, he could stay in the warm bed and not need to even get up at all! So as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and that was how the Easy Out was born. A friend suggested to the inventor that he should submit it to Design News magazine for consideration to be published for their monthly feature on reader inventions called “Gadget Freaks”. It was published later that year in 2005 (click here to read original article), then won a reader-voted contest for “2005 Best Gadget Freak of the Year”, and has since been featured in three more articles (click here and here and here to read) plus a 4 part blog interview (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) in Design News as it has evolved and expanded its applications over the years. A first US patent was issued for it in 2008, and a 2nd US patent later. These positive experiences spurred the inventor to wonder if it would be feasible to produce and sell his invention to the public so that others could enjoy using it in their homes with their puppies. After a few years and lots of time, learning, effort, and challenges, the inventor finally met some great folks who helped him turn that dream into a reality. The result is what you see on this website and in the YouTube videos, and in this picture of that inventor holding his first packaged version of the product:
The inventor is Les Kelly, PE, PMP… a mechanical engineer and program manager who lives in Northern Virginia. Les received a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland, but has been a Virginia Tech “Hokie” at heart since receiving his BS in ME from there in 1982. Les and his beautiful wife Nita share their home with a sweet pup named Cubby. You will find Cubby and their beloved now-deceased beagle Daisy in the photos on this website’s home page and in the linked YouTube videos. Les and Nita have been using the Easy Out in various forms in their home since that first model was cobbled together in 2005. It has evolved a lot since then, as you can tell if you compare how it looks now vs. its picture from that original Design News Magazine article in its ad on petgadgets.com. It’s gotten much smaller, evolved to a battery powered version and then more recently to the awesome new DELUXE version that is way stronger and can be activated by your smart phone from anywhere, or via a pre-set timer, AND MOST RECENTLY STARTING IN 2017, A NEW VERSION OF THE DELUXE WITH BUILT-IN WIFI TO ALLOW SMARTPHONE AND TIMER USE WITHOUT PURCHASING ANYTHING SEPARATELY – but the fun of seeing your puppy or dog run to you so joyfully when you release them with it is still as cool as it was back in 2005.