Inventors Digest respects, nurtures and honors young innovators. In recognition of outstanding achievements in creativity, social compassion and entrepreneurial zeal, we’re pleased to unveil the inaugural members of the Inventors Digest Youth Inventors Hall of Fame.
The 2009 inductees were selected from teen and collegiate inventors featured in the magazine’s BrainChild section. They are:
Max Wallack. Helping People through Innovation
On a trip to Chicago, six-year-old Max saw homeless people living on streets and beneath highways and underpasses. Ever since then, he knew he had to find a way to help them. Six years later, Max invented the home dome. The home dome redefines a makeshift dwelling and is entirely made of Styrofoam peanuts stuffed into discarded plastic bags. It is a round dome in the shape of a Mongolian yurt, and includes a built-in bed that anchors the dwelling down by the weight of the person inside.
The home dome won Max first prize in the 2008 Design Squad Trash to Treasure competition, sponsored by Intel. Max also invented the Carpal Cushion, a special pad, containing air-filled packing materials, secured by adjustable Velcro straps that helps alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Meet Scott Barnhill. Seeking Solutions
Scott discovered his inventive skills when he was just 9 years old. Scott was searching for the key card to get into his family’s hotel room. In order to find it, he had to sort through all of the credit cards in his father’s wallet to find the right card for the hotel. There was a different plastic card for everything, such as airline mileage clubs, YMCA memberships, hotel room keys and movie rental stores. Even in school he had an I.D. card, a bookstore card and a door entry card. He wanted fewer cards! Scott designed a handy magnetic card system which could load the magnetic strips of several cards onto one card.
His invention, “the Security One Card” was a hit. He won the 2004 LeTourneau University Invention & Design Contest, and the 2003 Student Ideas for a Better America Competition. He was named 2004 “Innovator of the Year” by the Maryland Daily Record, and was also awarded commercialization honors by By Kids For Kids. In 2006, Scott Barnhill’s Security One Card invention received its first licensing deal with the introduction of the BKFK eCOM Gift Card. Dubbed the “Allowance Card”, the BKFK eCOM Gift Card also allows parents to reward kids while tracking their purchases.
As a recognized youth inventor, Scott has served as a VIP judge in the Staples Invention Quest Kids competition and the NYSE Financial Future Challenge. He has appeared as a featured inventor in “Think Big” a TV series in Canada highlighting young inventors and on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch on MSNBC.
Meet Alyssa Hansen. Unlocking Creativity
11-year-old Alyssa realized that children’s body boards, commonly known as Boogie Boards, were not well designed for kids. She and her friends knew they had to design a better and more kid friendly version. They invented Boogie to Boogie, a boomerang shaped boogie board that was fun to use and appealed to kids. It was also more comfortable to lay on the board with this open shape. They even came up with a connector to attach to each board to the other so kids could ride in tandem. Also, for parents who wanted a way of getting children’s attention, the kids came up with a remote signaling device so that parents could signal them from shore.
Boogie 2 Boogie won first place in the Sally Ride National Toy Challenge after winning Best Engineering & Best Overall Invention in the Regional Competition. This was just the beginning of Alyssa’s creativity. Since then she has worked with her friends to invent the Underwater X-treme, a new kind of pool toy that features sound and bright, blinking red lights. She has blogged about inventing and the invention process on the Scholastic “Stacks” website, invented a game called “Toy University” with 2 friends and was the grand prize winner of the 2008 Pearson Digital Arts Challenge for her graphic novel titles, the Guardians – a story based on the life of a group of young Color Guards. Last month, Alyssa marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as part of the Color Guard for the Macy’s All American Marching Band.