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Popular Science cites Wisconsin inventor among nation’s best

June 1, 2009 By Renee Meiller

Madison-area entrepreneur Ben Hobbins is among the nation’s top 10 inventors featured in the June issue of Popular Science magazine. The magazine cites Hobbins, CEO of Lake Resources Group, for the novel fiber-reinforced soft-bait fishing lures he developed in collaboration with Tim Osswald, a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of mechanical engineering.

The reinforced lures can sustain 93 pounds of tensile strain and, unlike their toxic, soft-plastic counterparts, won’t tear and disintegrate at the bottoms of lakes and rivers.

Osswald, who co-directs the UW–Madison Polymer Engineering Center, and then-graduate students Nick Newman and Eric Foltz initially helped Hobbins address materials and manufacturing questions, as well as develop prototypes. Hobbins now manufactures and sells the lures in sporting goods stores nationwide under his “IronClads” brand.

“Without development collaboration by UW–Madison’s Polymer Engineering Center, development of the IronClads project would have been nearly impossible,” says Hobbins. “I owe Tim, his team and the university much in our success.”

To bring his vision to fruition, Hobbins also drew resources at UW-Whitewater, UW-Extension and the Wisconsin School of Business at UW–Madison. He and Osswald now are working together to develop new applications for and iterations of the fiber-reinforced soft plastics.

Read more about the invention here.

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