U of S grads ready to put magnetic block heater plug on the market

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WATCH ABOVE: U of S grads are launching their new invention just in time for winter – Oct 23, 2019

It’s a simple concept that came to William Topping’s inbox while he was an electrical engineering student.

The pitch was to create an easier way to plug in your block heater.

Now, about seven years later, it will be on store shelves.

READ MORE: University of Saskatchewan grad invents magnetic block heater plug

VoltSafe, which was previously MagnoPlug, was born after Topping’s partner AJ Janfada pulled his car out of a parking spot without unplugging his block heater.

The magnetic plug was an idea Topping immediately saw as an upgrade.

“You saw it right away, cause like, I’ve done it. AJ has pictures of once where he ripped a hole through the front of his bumper and then the cable whiplashed around and it broke his taillight,” Topping said.

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It wasn’t the first time the civil engineering student damaged his vehicle, which is why he asked Topping to help him develop the product.

The pair built and developed prototypes on campus, something the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) has tried to foster.

“The students that are coming in are more and more entrepreneurial, and so it has initiated a whole movement within the college to support this realization of ideas that they have,” said U of S associate dean research and partnerships Terry Fonstad.

VoltSafe said generally products don’t take these many years getting to market, but the company was working towards certification by regulators.

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On top of it being easier to connect, Topping added it’s also easier for people with mobility issues.

READ MORE: 11 inventions, people and foods you probably didn’t know were Canadian

One of his friends suffered a stroke and finds it hard to plug in a cable, but he gifted a plug to her.

“We caught her one morning biting into the electrical cable because she only had use of one side. I don’t know about you, but biting 120 volts seems like a bad idea. So for them, it wasn’t something of convenience. It was an invention of independence,” he said.

VoltSafe said its magnetic block heater plug will be available in Federated Co-op stores in December.

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