By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
A survival gear invention developed and built by the local small business owners Adam and Kim Nichols, will be featured today on an episode of The Discovery Science Channel’s series “All-American Makers.”
The Nicholses own and operate Rugged Inc., a business based in their garage that produces a survival flashlight called the Firelight.
Kim Nichols said the Firelight is a multi-function flashlight for emergency first responders and outdoor enthusiasts. She said its uses and functions make it stand out from other survival or tactical flashlights on the market.
“It’s hard to tell someone what the Firelight is with all of the attributes the invention has,” said Kim Nichols.
Adam Nichols said the functions of the Firelight attracted the show’s staff to contact them in October a few days after they created profile on an Internet forum designed to promote inventors and their products.
The Firelight is waterproof; its end cap can start a fire; it can be used as a hammer to put tents into the ground without affecting the threads for assembling the device and taking it apart. It also has a solar panel with Li-polymer battery attached so the flashlight can also charge cell-phones.
“It’s virtually indestructible and can be used to start fires and charge cell phones in an emergency,” Kim Nichols said.
Kim said they were called by someone with the All-American Makers show who said the producers wanted to set up an interview with them about the possibility of the Firelight being on the show.
The show host, Printrbot founder and owner Brook Drumm and mechanical designer and robotics expert Brian Roe, put inventions through a series of rigorous tests, and those that pass are subjected to further scrutiny by consumer focus groups. After analyzing all the feedback, venture capitalist Marc Portney decides whether to invest his own money to help bring products to store shelves.
Adam Nichols said they met officials from the program while demonstrating the Firelight at a gun show in Clovis.
“At first we thought it was a scam when they said if chosen we would be flown to New Jersey to film the show,” Kim Nichols said. “However, that all changed when they called us a few days later and said ‘Pack your bags. You’re coming to New Jersey.’”
Kim Nichols said while In New Jersey, she and her husband filmed for four days but the results of the cannot be revealed until the airing of the show today.
Kim is a stay-at-home mom and Adam is a helicopter mechanic for Air Methods (air medical transport), stationed in Tucumcari.
The Nichols started the Rugged Inc., seven to eight months ago and received $50,000 in Local Economic Development Act funds, which are raised locally through a one-eighth of 1 percent gross receipts tax to help in product planning and design.
The couple is are holding a viewing party at 8:30 today at the Elks Lodge for the premier of the episode.