Remote Control Locator

Twin sisters Kelli and Vanessa Dunn were born on October 23, 1974 in Santa Clara, California. Today, the ambitious young women are inventors of a device they call the "Missing Link," which allows television viewers to page their lost remote controls.

Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Dunns graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1992, where both were members of the school's softball, volleyball, basketball, and track teams, as well as the student council.

They became inventors by accident. A few years ago while watching television, a program came on that neither wanted to watch. Accustomed to clicking the remote rather than getting up to change the channel manually, they looked at one another and realized the remote control was no where to be found. Kelli said a lightbulb went off in her head, and she said, "Wouldn't it be cool if you could page your remote control?" Her sister Vanessa agreed and said a nice complement to that would be an organizer to put remote controls in. The duo continued their conversation into the evening, and they didn’t stop there. They decided to come up with a prototype.

Consulting with design engineers on their product, the Dunns came up with a concept for a sleek product using wireless technology. Once their initial design concept was complete, they contacted the Invention Submission Corporation in Oakland, California, which helped Kelli and Vanessa conduct a patent search and develop the product concept further. In November 2001, the Dunns received U.S. Patent No. 6,320,503. They are currently working with San Francisco-based marketing firm IP&R (Inventors Publishing & Research) to launch their product commercially. Eventually, they would like to sell the Missing Link through television home shopping outlets, such as QVC and Home Shopping Network.

The Dunn twins call themselves "perpetual students" who love to learn. In college, Kelli studied court reporting, and Vanessa studied finance. At the same time, the Dunn twins are pursuing their modeling dreams, having recently signed with MAC Models International in Beverly Hills, California. Meanwhile, Kelli said she and her sister already have ideas for more inventions. "We're going to start with this one, learn as much as we can about the world of inventions, and go into the next one with open eyes," she said. "We have about four other products that we plan to patent in the near future."

The sisters' advice to other would-be inventors is to stay focused, positive, and "keep your eye on the prize." Kelli said, "Don't listen to people who say, 'That won't work' or 'I saw that at Walgreen's' unless they have hard proof because most of the time it's just not true."

She recommends joining local inventors' groups to gather advice and information from fellow innovators. She and her sister, for example, are members of the Northern California Chapter of the Inventors Alliance. 

The sisters founded National Online Makeup Artists (NOMA) in 2005 to help makeup artists and customers find each other. Vanessa combined her passion for makeup with Kelli’s business mindset, and together they started the company.