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Peshastin inventor introduces 'personal lounger'

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Peshastin inventor Melissa Ortega has a new innovation that’ll take your breath away — about 12 breaths, actually.

Her snazzy inflatable “personal lounger,” The Sphinx, lends support for lazy bums like us to relax comfortably (face up or face down) at the beach or in the backyard. It’s basically the key element of a lounge chair — the elevated back — that you blow up like a kid’s pool toy (using 12 breaths) to support the neck and upper body. It comes with a second inflatable piece — the media holder — on which you can prop your book (or newspaper or iPad) or tuck under your knees for additional support.

Other features include a strap to keep book pages from flapping, storage within the media holder for gear or chilled drinks, a drink holder and a vinyl coating that, Ortega says, feels like micro-suede. And — remember it’s inflatable? — The Sphinx floats, so it’ll support you while you paddle ’round the pool.

Inspiration for The Sphinx came from Ortega’s practice of relaxing and reading on the beach. “I always made two mounds of sand to prop up myself and my book,” she said. “That way I could read in comfort on my stomach.”

Ortega (in photo below) will be in Pittsburgh this week at INPEX, a huge invention trade exhibition, in hopes of finding a manufacturer, a distributor and maybe even financial backing for taking The Sphinx global. Until then, you can buy one of these babies online ($49.95) at Castle and Bay, Ortega's company for “ergonomic products.” Go to