About three years ago, Edwards was driving through Merritt Island on the way to his Rockledge home, when he was pulled over by a Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy. He had earlier given blood in preparation for an upcoming surgery and then stopped at a bar for drinks.
He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Eventually, he was convicted.
The experience was expensive and deeply embarrassing for Edwards, who even today continues to think about how his actions [endangered] himself and others.
In the day after the incident, Edwards, an engineer with 45 patents to his credit, kept replaying the event in his head and thinking about what, beyond better judgement, could have been done to prevent it.
Tinkering at this home workshop, he came up with his answer: SafeKey.
Similar in size to a car alarm fob, SafeKey attaches to a key chain and forces users to pass a simple test of eye-hand coordination — pressing colored buttons in the order they light up — in order for the car’s ignition to work.
His new gadget in hand, Edwards explained his invention to a longtime friend in Minneapolis, who eventually passed it onto a business associate. That led to the formation of SafeKey Corp., a company that began selling the device this spring. Edwards is the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.
So far the company, based in Minneapolis, has sold about 100 SafeKeys via the Internet. They sell for about $200 each, and it costs an additional $70 to have the “immobilizer” device installed in a vehicle.
Photo from SafeKey