COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Whether it is an all-natural chew toy for dogs; or a paint that burns less than traditional commercial paints; or a plunger molded to ensure diabetic patients get every last drop of their expensive and vital medicine out of an injection vial; kids found solutions to problems they saw around them.
This year’s annual Kid Inventor Day at the Ohio Statehouse saw nearly two dozen kids recognized by lawmakers for their work developing their inventions, nearly all of which have an element of helping others at their core.
Sometimes comfort was the goal, as it was with Madelyn Windholtz’s Carottoman. The item was built to fit in a car or truck and placed in the well where children’s feet would normally hang or rest.
Madelyn didn’t like her feet dangling during long car rides, so she developed the ottoman to rest her feet on. It also doubles as a storage container for items she may want on those same long car rides.
Jianna Nichols, one of the oldest students at the Statehouse for the event has been participating since she was in fourth grade; she is now a 9th grader.
One of the inventions she brought with her was a smart headband. The item has a variety of configurations and was designed to be used by people with upper body problems and by those who find using their hands to be difficult. Her hairband comes with magnets and accessories. A side effect of using the item is it appears to take the stress off of pulling hair too tight, which I am told can cause headaches.
“It’s so fun to see all, other people, my peers inventing things and changing the world because usually it’s just something that we see adults doing,” said Nichols.
Some of the inventions tackle adult issues. Makiyla Carrico’s grandfather has had diabetes since he was a teenager like her. She says, the cost of the vital medicine is so high he would try to get every last drop out of the insulin vials, but it wasn’t easy.
Carrico decided the current plunger system in insulin vials using a pen injector are not efficient enough and leave extra insulin in the vials that are not used because the mechanical nature of the device does not allow it to be.
“I always like to feel like I’m helping someone and I’m doing good for the community and the world,” said Carrico.
Her invention would help people access that medicine, and it won a national award for blending design and engineering, which has her working with a company called Ideas which will help her make her prototype better and prepare her for submitting it for a patent.
She isn’t the only kid with the patent process in their future according to Amy Fisher, also known as Professor Prototype.
“One of the most interesting and engaging things for students and educators is the ownership and the empathy that a program like this activates in a kid,” said Fisher. “This is real-world lessons, they are actually looking at becoming a business, an entrepreneur, taking a product to market.”
The teen furthest down this path at the Statehouse Wednesday was Kenichi Wachtl from Northfield, Ohio. For the past three years, he has been developing his World Water Helper.
This device uses a variety of components to purify drinking water contaminated with microorganisms. He says, he was struck with the idea after visiting the Philippines and seeing people drinking untreated groundwater.
One of his display boards proudly displays a Patent Pending sticker, and he carries the confirmation of that pending patent with him to show people as well. Fisher says he received his official patent not too long ago.
There are thousands of kids in Ohio participating in the Ohio Invention League, and she says that is a great thing for the future of Ohio.
“Anything is possible in the mind of a child, and that is what makes them great inventors,” said Fisher. “There is no bad idea, there are only some things that work out and others that don’t, but it’s all worthwhile; and the things we can learn from our youth about problem-solving and their ideas will blow away and just really inspire the adults around them when they give them the opportunity to dream and do.”
The non-profit Ohio Invention League was given a $10,000 check Wednesday from AT&T to kick off the ceremony.