"Like all great ideas, the essence is simplicity..."
Window WeatherGuards are a practical, low-tech, foolproof way of achieving several outcomes... A more pleasant home environment, reduced energy and home cooling bills, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and greater protection from airborne allergens and toxins inside the home.
This unique and novel innovation achieves all of the above with award winning results.
Not forgetting the initial inspiration for the WeatherGuards innovation, to be able to allow the free ﬂow of fresh air through sliding windows 24/7 rain, hail, or shine. I know how hard it is to get an invention off the ground. Andrew Cottle has shown immense dedication, initiative, and perseverance, and I wish him and the Window WeatherGuard every success.”
- George Lewin
Inventor of the Triton range of woodworking machines and Managing Director of The Triton Group 1976-1999.
Founder and Chairman of The Triton Foundation
“Gee why didn’t I think of that?..."
"Over the past months I have had the pleasure of meeting, talking and spending time with Andrew Cottle. In getting to know Andrew I have been touched and inspired by his passionate dedication towards humanity, the environment, innovation and quite simply his daily motto, “to make a difference”.
On presentation of the WeatherGuard I was impressed and amazed at its simplicity and being a home owner, am very much aware of the “needs” that WeatherGuards can solve.
Quite simply and as Andrew puts it “WeatherGuards are needed anywhere that people live, and anywhere that it rains”. I agree. As he has been told hundreds of times “Gee why didn’t I think of that, it would be like inventing the fly screen today, it’s another mouse trap”.
I have offered Andrew help in achieving his goals for WeatherGuards to become an Australian success; voice overs and any media involvement where possible for the WeatherGuards marketing. Whilst Andrew has been working on a number of media activities, I’m more than happy to lend a hand in bringing the project forward."
- Jack Thompson A.M.
Australian actor and Order of Australia Award recipient
"Clearly this product has unlimited potential."
I recently had the opportunity to meet Andrew Cottle and have a look at his Window WeatherGuards. Both he as a person and the invention couldn’t have impressed me more. They are a true testament to the spirit of innovation in Australia.
I do believe Window WeatherGuards are a unique product that will improve the day to day lives, while reducing the environmental impact of people and their living conditions worldwide. Clearly this product has unlimited potential, and yes as stated, like that of the everyday fly screen.
It is a true testament to Andrew’s strength of character to see him continuing with the commercialization of Window WeatherGuards despite his personal trials. His commitment and belief in the unlimited human potential is an inspiration to all. I look forward to providing advice and assistance for Andrew in supporting his future efforts relating to the licensing and commercialization of Window WeatherGuards.
- Ric Richardson
Australian Inventor and software engineer
"I am still not sure if my story is about determination, courage, or luck. Perhaps you could decide?...
In a nutshell I invented a product that could be used widely in households in Australia, and around the world. But a horrific accident has meant the invention is yet to be commercialised. What only feels like yesterday however being in the early 2000’s, on a pleasant warm sunny Sunday my life took a dramatic and unexpected turn. It has taken me a decade to recover and become who I am today. Ironically, my recovery has led me on an amazing journey.
Imagine being 30-something and inventing an Australian world first. a unique patented system for sliding windows that keeps rain out while allowing the free flow of energy efficient, toxin free, fresh air – 24 /7, rain, hail or shine. a solution to an everyday problem: a problem for pretty much everyone, everywhere, that we all just put up with.
The Window WeatherGuard story
With Andrew Cottle, Inventor of the Window WeatherGuard.
NO SMALL FEAT
Now getting my invention to this stage was no small feat. As parents can sometimes do, mum and dad decided to give me a hand to attempt to commercialise my much needed, world first, simple innovation. So they hooked up their caravan and we drove 2300 km to Melbourne, Victoria. I set up a tent alongside their caravan. Their van became our base at night, while in daylight hours it was our “Head Office”, or as mum liked to call it, Café da Wheels.
With all the optimism and self-delusional qualities of a first-time inventor I thought it would only take a matter of weeks to get the project up and running. Enthusiastically I began setting up meetings with a number of major players in the plastics and window industries. Some time earlier, I had heard on ABC Radio the story of George Lewin, the famous Australian inventor of the Triton workbench.
He spoke about the many executives from numerous power tool companies he had seen in the mid 1970s who had said “Gee, good idea George, but we’re a little busy on other things right now. Maybe you could come back and see us in 12 months?”
What they didn’t realise at the time was they were closing off an opportunity to be involved in a revolution within the Australian hardware industry. George’s invention went on to sell almost half a billion dollars’ worth of product over the next thirty years.
Boy, did we find out the truth of George’s experience! Company after company, trip after trip, knock-back after knock-back, my dream was starting to shrivel and die inside me. But George had also talked about the need to persist, and so we did. One day, I met the CEO of a medium-sized, family-owned, Melbourne-based manufacturing and distribution company. He was well spoken, well-dressed and seemingly cluey at business. “That’s a good idea Andrew, come back and see me tomorrow,” were his concluding remarks at the end of our meeting. I couldn’t believe my ears. I was ecstatic!
You could imagine the excitement for a chippy in his early 30s, sleeping in a tent in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD! To be asked back for a second meeting, by a well-spoken man in a smart business suit to discuss the commercialisation of my innovation, is a moment I will always remember.
What a feeling and boy did we stay up late that night! We had a few beers and one of Mum’s special roasts for dinner; it was a five star night at Café da Wheels. It took me hours to fall asleep, my head buzzing with visions of what it would feel like to have my invention fitted to thousands and thousands of Australian homes, let alone homes and buildings around the world.
All of a sudden it seemed like the dream was becoming reality. Weeks of discussions, research and workshops followed. We covered detailed design, tooling, packaging, standards, approvals, patents, marketing, distribution and legal agreements. The list went on and on... and as for a being a somewhat penniless chippy living in a tent in a caravan park, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing!
Finally the agreement between me and the manufacturing company was ready to sign. It was a Friday and we were due to sign at the solicitor’s office the following Monday morning. So over the weekend I decided to catch up with a friend in Melbourne to share my excitement about the previous months of hard work. My friend and I met on Sunday to do some sightseeing and it was a glorious morning as we set out. But, as fate or luck turned out, it was a day I will never remember”.
As my brain slowly healed, I develop a willingness to take an interest in my recovery, which would take many more years. I was overwhelmed with excitement when I was able to fly home to my parent’s house and be treated as an outpatient. That event, though I did not know it at the time, was a memorable turning point in my life and my recovery - I had taken the first step towards regaining my independence.
With the experience of prolonged hospitalisation behind me, I was determined to explore drug free approaches to health and wellbeing. While under my parents care I began seeing my father’s GP, Dr Geoffrey Miller, who encouraged me to adopt a lifestyle that included daily yoga, exercise and meditation, eating organic food, and a number of regular and necessary therapies - chiropractic, physio, acupuncture and remedial massage – that relieved my ongoing pain and improved my quality of life. With dedication I still maintain this lifestyle some 14 years on, and continue a heartfelt friendship with Dr Geoffrey. My motto these days simply “to make a difference”.
In spite of my amazing recovery, rehabilitating from injury has been my toughest challenge. Having to relearn so many basic things that as an adult you take for granted, like walking, talking, eating and smiling – this has been the most confronting thing I have ever experienced! But, from this personal experience I have come to believe that for many, brain injury need not be a life sentence. I truly believe that with the correct treatment, diet and lifestyle, along with perseverance, many sufferers can achieve amazing potentials.
A NEW JOURNEY
At around 9 am we were involved in a near fatal car accident: while we were stopped at a set of red lights a drunk driver, travelling at around 80km/h, slammed into the back of our car. It was only 24 hours before I was to sign licensing contracts to commence the production of my innovation.
This was the beginning of a new journey.
For two weeks my body lay in a lifeless coma while the hum drum of electronic machines maintained my life. I then drifted out of my coma into a life testing and mind numbing state of post traumatic amnesia for the next six weeks. People today sometimes ask, “So what was that like?” Often my response is, “Hell would be an appropriate description.” Imagine for a moment what it would be like waking up in a hospital bed with the realisation that you had lost all basic bodily functions. That the person you were, the person you knew so well, had ceased to exist.
That was my reality.
During the following months I faced a number of slow and painful challenges. I came to understand that I could not feed myself, go to the bathroom, or even smile. I felt trapped and helpless, like a lost toddler in an overcrowded shopping centre. As the weeks slowly ticked by I somehow realised I had to find the determination and inner strength to make a recovery from the paralysis and immobility of a traumatic brain injury.
During this long and excruciatingly painful process, I was totally dependent on conventional hospital-based rehabilitation. Drugs, MRIs, speech pathology, more drugs, physio, memory exercises, and relearning basic life skills, all slowly followed. Today, it is fair to say that I will never look at buttering a simple piece of toast in the same way again.
A NEW PURPOSE
I’ve emerged from my journey with a new purpose: to make a difference in supporting the recovery of others who have experienced a traumatic brain injury. In committing part proceeds from the sale of WeatherGuards to this cause, I have asked all others involved in its commercialisation to do the same. These proceeds will help fund the Road to Recovery Project – a project that one day, if I can realise my next dream, will become a much needed not-for-profit foundation.
The foundation would have a strong focus on rehabilitation and vehicle safety, since around 70% of acquired brain injuries are the result of car accidents. The idea is to assist in the building of live-in facilities that can accommodate people who are ready to leave hospital, but still need specialised care and rehabilitation. Currently, many people who are recovering from acquired brain injuries need to live in nursing homes, and given these do not typically have an acquired brain injury rehabilitation focus, they really aren’t the most appropriate place for these people to be.
The facility would be designed to provide a safe and nurturing space for people to rebuild their lives in the transition from hospital to independent living, and, where the latter is not possible, a permanent, caring, community based place for people to reside. Education and support would be an integral part of a person’s ongoing rehabilitation, particularly around vehicle and driving safety. I have had a number of discussions and am looking to partner with a respected safe car manufacturer who could provide assistance in this area.
I sincerely believe we all have unlimited potential, and this should not exclude those who find themselves with an acquired brain injury. As I have always said, “Acquired brain injury is not a disability - it is just a different ability.”
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The Road to Recovery project is my passion and WeatherGuards are a means to that end. Establishing this foundation will allow me to realise a dream of making a difference in this world. More personally, this foundation will provide some meaning to the most challenging life experiences I have had to date.
REALISING MY DREAM
A heartfelt passion of mine has been Australian innovation equals Australian industry and Australian Industry equals Australian jobs. It’s like Aussie made stuff for an Aussie made future and from what I hear of late, we now need this more than ever.
To date, thousands of Australians are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Window WeatherGuards. I’m contacted on a regular basis by people wanting to know when and where they will be available.
For some time now I have been working towards a licencing arrangement for Window WeatherGuards and their technology. I've been in discussion with a number of companies that have the infrastructure to manufacture products and merchandise them into stores such as your local hardware chains. I’m extremely excited to announce that highly respected Queensland based manufacturers Protective Plastics and Haigh Australia Pty Ltd are bringing Window WeatherGuards to market.
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