Sounds Like A Winner

Yak's Corner

Just For Kids

January 04, 1999|By Cathy Collison

Who does Andrew Filo credit with the idea for Sound Bites, the novelty lollipop that has a collectible music toy with it?

The inventor Thomas Edison, that's who.

No, Thomas Edison didn't come up with the idea of sticking a sucker in a little music machine and having the sound carry through your teeth from the lollipop. But Andrew had visited Edison's home in Fort Myers, Fla., and found an Edison idea that intrigued him.

At the home, Andrew learned about an early device that Edison used to hear the sounds of his phonograph through his inner ear.

Andrew stored this information away in his brain. He pulled it out last year when he and co-inventor Dave Capper decided they wanted to come up with something fun for toys.

Andrew grew up in Akron, Ohio, known as the ``rubber capital'' of the country, where tires are made. Making things - including school projects - is important in that town. Andrew especially liked science fairs. After he graduated from Akron University, he still liked making things. That led him to the toy business.

Andrew figured kids love toys, candy and music. How could he combine the three? He and his partner figured they could record music onto a small device with a microchip that you could hold in your hand. Then, they put the device together with a lollipop. Sound Bites was born.

Finally, they recorded different sounds in a studio. Drums, guitar, and saxophone were the first sounds they picked to record. Since then, they've added three special effects versions - Space Wars, Wacky Toons and Wacky Voices.

Does Andrew have any advice for future inventors?

``There's no such thing as useless information,'' he says. Anything you see and everywhere you go can give you ideas.

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