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A couple of years ago, Bryan Hickman and his then-7-year-old son Aden were outside playing with light sabers, the toy versions of the movie props made popular by the Star Wars films.

When they were finished playing, Hickman stuck the handles of the sabers into the stake-pocket holes in the rails of his pickup, and he drove around for a few nights with the sabers glowing.

“I started thinking,” he recalled, “what if you had a bed rail like that, that glowed like a light saber?”

Hickman started working in oil fields when he was a teenager. He was working as a directional drilling engineer in the oil fields of North Dakota when he came up with the idea for what he now calls GloRails.

Someone who knew about his idea pitched it to the television show Shark Tank, which called Hickman and asked him to apply for a spot on the program.

“I told my boss I needed to go home (to Texas) and they didn’t like the idea,” Hickman said.

So, “I quit my job to try to get on Shark Tank,” Hickman said. “But I missed the deadline and never heard from them again.”

Instead, he spent more than a year back in Texas working to develop his GloRail product line.

GloRails include a pair of elbow-style end caps spanned by a tube that glows when electrical power is switched on. The rails, which attach to the truck bed rail, also include wiring to connect to a truck’s electrical system, either the tail lamps or trailer hitch wiring. Hickman also produces rail ends that are lighted and serve as an extra set of brake lights or turn signals.

Prototype tubes were made from an acrylic but production versions of GloRails are a produced in a tough “virtually indestructible” polycarbonate material.

He said he used 3-D printers to produce not only prototype pieces, but actual production elbows while he waits for additional capital so he can produce those elbows by an injection molding process.

He’s selling only red tubing, but he plans to be able to offer a variety of colors as production ramps up.

Current pricing is in the $150-$270 price range, depending on the length needed and whether the tubing is a plain color or shows a company name or advertising message. Hickman also is marketing the GloRails to law enforcement agencies with flashing-light systems.

Hickman said GloRails will be featured on the MonsterXTour monster truck tour that will visit 75 cities on three continents in 2015.

GloRails are available through Hickman’s www.dinjee.com website, which notes that they are legal and includes a link to the various state laws concerning such vehicle lighting.

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at ledsall@cox.net.

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