He may not be the Wizard of Menlo Park, but for semi-retired Morgan Hill resident Erick Garcia, good ideas never die. And Garcia has many, many ideas.
Garcia claims to have invented a drink that stops the aging process (more on that below), a new form of harnessing electricity and a new machine that he believes could revolutionize how communities fight against flooding. The latter is the C15/60 Rapid Barricade Deployment System, a mobile device that fills and forms sandbag walls to help control floods.
To Garcia, 72, Hurricane Michael, which caused 36 deaths and billions of dollars of property damage, is a perfect example of how his invention could aid in containing floodwater, potentially replacing emergency workers hurriedly filling and placing sandbags by hand.
In Morgan Hill, the invention could make it much easier for residents in need of sandbags during the occasional torrential winter storm that can bring flooding to the city’s downtown and other neighborhoods that sit in a floodplain. Currently, the city and water district offer sandbag materials, but they must be filled by hand with a shovel.
The C15/60 is a vehicle on tracks, like a tank, with a plow and hopper system that collects on-hand material like sand and deposits it into a machine, mounted on the vehicle that automatically fills 100-pound sandbags. The machine then lays the sandbags in a row, dropped from a conveyor belt on the rear end of the vehicle.
Garcia believes the C15/60’s portability, efficiency and rapidity can save both lives and property. It’s an idea that’s been in the works for over 40 years.
There is no working prototype of the C15/60. The concept for the vehicle is laid out in a glossy eight-page document produced by Garcia’s company Capricorn Systems, which is headquartered in Garcia’s apartment. The report offers illustrations about what the machine could look like.
The idea remains on paper and in Garcia’s mind, and to make his dream into a reality, Garcia needs recognition and, more importantly, money.
“I don’t have the resources to put something like this together,” Garcia said.
The technology to piece together the C15/60 exists, according to Garcia. Premier Tech, an international manufacturer of packaging machines, sells the bagging machine, the FFS 200 Series, which can produce 32 bags a minute. The FFS 200 costs more than $100,000 and would still need to be mounted on a vehicle.
Garcia’s laboratory is a one-bedroom apartment in a senior living building on East Dunne Avenue. When he’s not tinkering with ideas or waiting for work as a union construction worker, Garcia uses himself as a guinea pig to test his concoction of meat, shredded wheat and juice, which he boasts can stop the human aging process. He has five years of notepads tracking his daily his body weight index, and while it’s hard to prove correlation, Garcia claims to have beat pancreatic cancer twice.
The meat/juice tonic also happens to be Garcia’s only meal of the day.
Born in Roswell, New Mexico, Garcia moved to the Bay Area when he was 5, as his father found work as a painter. Garcia studied computer engineering and biology at Gavilan College, then found a printing job at Stanford University, where he was allowed to take classes.
After his time at Stanford, Garcia worked in retail sales, management and in the printing industry for more than 20 years. In his spare time, Garcia took flying lessons in between working on his health and building his one-person operation at Capricorn Systems.