Prior One Spark winner speaks about how festival contributed to success

Jacksonville's One Spark festival ended for the year Saturday


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville's One Spark festival ended for the year Saturday. It's billed as the world's largest idea festival, bringing creators and the community together.

News4Jax spoke with one of its first winners, and checked in on how One Spark contributed to his success.

Robert Samples described what it was like winning One Spark's 2014 innovation award.

"It was absolutely amazing," Samples said.

His so-called Meatrix system goes beyond testing the temperature of cooked meats. It determines how "done" the meat is using energy impulse.

Samples said coming out on top at the festival was a game changer.

"The win at One Spark encouraged us to totally redirect our efforts and diversify from being strictly a restaurant-type product to a product that would be available to the general public and was affordable," Samples said.

Samples and his team used the recognition and prize money to take their product to the next level. He said he was disappointed to see One Spark take last year off, but thinks its most recent incarnation is encouraging.

"I think what they're doing this year is really a step in the right direction," Samples said. "It's striking the fine balance between something that's economically feasible for the promoters, but yet still has a lot of interest from the public and has a lot of potential for inventors like myself."

Samples said he's getting ready to launch his product on Kickstarter. He said he hopes to see One Spark continue for many years with even more public interest.