LED Cocoon Tent

Stephen Boynton
Orem, UT
LED strips are sewn into the tent seams, and the light is turned on and off with a small button inside the tent, or remotely.

Outdoor camping tents have used the zipper as the solution to opening and closing the tent since the zipper was invented. Even before the zipper was applied, campers used candles, lanterns, flashlights, and finally headlamps to give visibility to the dark shadows of a tent interior. The LED Cocoon Tent is a solution to the issues of jammed, snagged, worn out zippers and low visibility inside a tent at night.

The LED Cocoon Tent solves the zipper problem by completely eliminating the zipper. The new open/closure found on the LED Cocoon Tent was inspired by the shade canopy found on most baby strollers that accordions open and closed on two pivot points. The tent brings the comfort, convenience, and consistency of indoor light (and its associated light switch) to the outdoor camping experience.

A low-profile string of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) is sewn into the tent seams in various locations throughout the tent. At night, when you are headed back to the tent, reading a book, or performing other tasks that require two hands and/or multi-directional light, the user flips on the light switch or turns it on from outside with a small wireless remote.

Benefits of the LED Cocoon Tent include:

  • No more zippers.
  • Increased night vision.
  • Hands-free convenience — perform tasks without fumbling with a flashlight or headlamp.
  • Easy accessibility — brings the consistency of a bedroom light switch to a tent.
  • Safety — gas-burning lanterns are an obvious hazard inside a tent. LEDs eliminate this and provide more safe light.

The concept of an LED integrated tent is easily manufactured and would perform well in mass production. Most tents are already assembled with a seam tape used to waterproof and/or reinforce the tent’s seams. The LED light string is integrated into the seam tape prior to production. Using LED integrated seam tape would require minimal change to the manufacturing process of current tents and the LED Cocoon Tent concept.

The LED Cocoon Tent is designed for the family and weekend warrior campers. This is a mid-grade tent for the mass market that is willing to sacrifice a little weight and pay a little more for the convenience, fun, and safety that the tent provides. The issue of lighting a tent is currently being solved through the use of after-market lighting accessories.

For more information, contact the inventor at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Honorable Mentions

Telescoping Power Strip

Jake Zien
Carnegie Mellon University
Milwaukee, WI
Telescoping Power Strip invented by Jake Zien

Each outlet on the Telescoping Power Strip is contained within its own pod, and these are connected by an inch of rigid tubing, which can be slid into each pod. This creates a telescoping power strip that can be collapsed to the normal size with each pod touching or extended in sections to 20", enabling all outlets to be used. It can be rotated about its plug to each of the four compass points, so that when it is on the wall, it does not block off the standard two-outlet plate’s other port. Finally, the strip’s “switch” does not press, but slides, and sits flush on the plug.

Energy-Saving Kettle

Andrew Blee
Rugby, Great Britain
Energy-Saving Kettle invented by Andrew Blee

The Energy-Saving Kettle allows the consumer to get the right volume of water simply by selecting where the kettle is held. It consists only of an extended handle with tactile marks alongside the inside of the handle. The marks correspond to 1 cup, 2 cups, 3 cups, etc. By supporting the kettle at each mark, the user’s index finger acts as a pivot (fulcrum) for the rotation of the kettle and therefore, the volume of water it can hold is defined before the excess is shed through the spout. The invention has particular value for blind or elderly people who cannot use a measuring gauge. There are no additional moving parts.

For more information, visit www.energysavingkettle.com .

Machinery & Equipment Category Winner, "Create the Future" 2007 Design Contest

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2008 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.