Nowadays, auto-flush motion sensor toilets are in schools, airports, hotels, and tourist spots around the world. But do you know who invented this modern convenience? The answer may surprise you. It was Teng Hung-Chi of Nantou, Taiwan, who was only 19 when he created the original sensor urinal!
Teng's inspiration came in 1983 during an exhausting1 day of work as a mechanic. While using the restroom, Teng didn't want to dirty the urinal by pressing the flush button with his greasy hands. He began thinking about how to combine an infrared sensor with a water valve. Two months later, his invention was completed, and Teng sold the patent2 for 1.5 million NT dollars! Since then, Teng's creative inventions have earned him the title "Taiwan's Edison."
When people discover that an appliance3 is broken, they often stop using it. Not Teng, though. Since childhood, he has enjoyed learning about such appliances by taking them apart. His curiosity and persistence4 have helped him create many quality innovations.5 For Teng, inventing is nothing more than changing the status quo.
Teng's passionate interest in inventing has helped him win many prizes at the annual World Invention Contest. But behind these prestigious1 awards lie days and nights of continuous hard work.
For example, in 1999, Teng's "Remote Control Pager Device" made him the first Asian winner of the Genius Prize at the Nuremberg World Invention Exhibition. This invention can control every single appliance in a building from far away! During his award acceptance speech, Teng thanked retailers in Taiwan. If Teng was inspired and needed components, he would knock on the doors of these retailers, even in the middle of the night! Their doors were always open to him.
In addition to his lifelong interest in inventing things himself, Teng is also devoted to educating others about invention. The 40-year-old Teng encourages people to pursue2 fantastic notions3 and make them reality, instead of being limited by conventional4 thinking.
"As long as you can endure loneliness and you never give up, becoming an inventor isn't difficult at all," Teng says. "If every school cultivated just one outstanding5 inventor, our country would definitely benefit from spectacular inventions!"