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Meet 4 Real-Life Superhero Kids Who Are Inventing The Products Of Tomorrow

Meet 4 Real-Life Superhero Kids Who Are Inventing The Products Of Tomorrow

Danny Schlitz

 

Out of the mouths of babes come the wisest words, and some of the smartest inventions also are being created by children.

Rumi Washington, 10, used to think up inventions to give him superpowers. “People kept telling me that I was really, really, super intelligent so I figured that was my superpower,” he said. He’s one of four superhero kids featured here who hopes to save the world.

The only way to close the STEM diversity gap is to get more people of color into science, technology, engineering and math — and the earlier, the better.

Designed to encourage young inventors, the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo is an annual celebration of K-12 inventors and entrepreneurs from across the U.S. It is presented by United Technologies, a research, development and manufacturing conglomerate based in Farmington, Connecticut. The 2018 expo was held May 31 to June 2 at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan.

Moguldom got to interview Rumi and three other 2018 finalists, selected from thousands of students.

Kendall Scott, 8: Invention Makes Sure Baby On Board Is Not Forgotten

Superhero Kids
Kendall Scott (Photo: National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo)

 

Kendall Scott, 8, may have just been a third grader when she came up with her invention, Backseat Reminder. It is a system that uses sensors to ensure children and pets aren’t accidentally left in the back of the driver’s car, which could help prevent hot-car deaths.


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Now entering fourth grade, the Hartford, CT-based elementary school student attends Annie Fisher Stem magnet school where her favorite subject is music.

Here’s how her invention works: “The sensor is from Elegoo. And it works on the Arduino platform, similar to the ones they use on robots. My invention uses the sensor to measure the distance between the doors of the model of a back seat,” Kendall explains. “We programmed the Elegoo board to trigger an alarm when the measurement between the two doors of the model was less than 24 centimeters. The sensor measures the distance between the doors and when you place an object between the doors it shortens the distance to less than 24 centimeters. It beeps when there is something on the back seat.”

Kendall has high hopes for Backseat Reminder. “My dream is that it will be used to save lives, and keep families from being hurt,” she said.

Diego Marks, 11: Snow Blower 2.0

Superhero Kids
Diego Marks (Photo: National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo)

 

Eleven-year-old Diego Marks from Bethany, CT, invented Clear N Salt, a two-in-one product that clears snow and salts at the same time.

“I came up with the idea because my dad was taking too long to plow snow,” Diego said. “I wanted him to finish plowing our driveway so that he could play with me in the snow. While waiting for him to finish, I would watch TV and I noticed every time it snowed, there were at least five heart attacks reported by the local news stations. This made me want to solve both of these problems.”

Diego’s favorite school subject is engineering.

The invention accomplishes two tasks at once. “The Clear N Salt works by pushing the machine to clear snow with plow and the salt/sand mixture is spread out by the spreader on the Clear N Salt. This helps save time,” says Diego, who is looking to not only help people clear the sidewalks but help solve a health issue — to prevent heart attacks while clearing snow.

He adds: “To tackle the heart-attack issue, I am working with a doctor to figure out a way to monitor heart rate by a pulse and connect it the Clear N Salt, and a person can monitor it by a mobile device.”

Diego actually crafted the invention himself. “I made an A-frame connector to attach the plow and spreader to make one unit. The plow was a recycled washing-machine barrel, and I cut and bent it to form the plow. There was welding involved, which I got help from an adult. The A-frame was welded to the spreader and a piece of 1-by-1 square stock was also welded to the Clear N Salt,” he explains.

Diego is looking forward to perfecting his device. “I would like to finish the Clear N Salt by putting the actual pulse monitor on the prototype and make the plow lift (and) create several models that would benefit a customer’s need. This would include having my invention patent completed and in full production for selling,” he says.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4h1GddZOVA&feature=youtu.be

Shania Watts, 10: Fighting Kitchen Fires

Superhero Kids
Shania Watts (Photo: National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo)

 

Shania Watts, a fourth grader heading into fifth grade from Wolcott, CT, invented the Grease Fire Emergency Kit, a product that extinguishes grease fires.

Her favorite subject in school is math, and she dreams of being a pediatrician one day. In the meantime, she has on her inventor cap. The Grease Fire Emergency Kit aims to save lives.

“I came up with the idea because my dad had a grease fire on the grill and was I wondering the best way to put it out quickly and safely, especially if there is one in the house. I researched ways on the Internet with my mom,” says Shania.

Shania researched several different solutions. “I realized that a small box of baking soda at times won’t be sufficient or quickly accessible. I also found that salt is a great source to put out a grease fire. We created the Grease Fire Emergency Kit with a portable, easy-access 10-inch cardboard tube that can be placed on the counter or in the cabinet, added a quick-release top with a handle and designed a logo. (It can also be designed with many other graphics or different style of handles). I then filled it with two equal parts components that help put out a grease fire…salt that absorbs and suck heat out of grease so it can’t support combustion anymore, and baking soda which releases carbon dioxide — that takes away the oxygen,” says Shania.

The gadget is easy to use, Shania said. “My kit works by pulling the lid off, pouring the solution of baking soda and salt directly onto the grease fire which effectively removes the two elements needed for fire to exist.

“My hope is to educate people, possibly save lives (and) property, and to see my grease fire emergency kit in every household around the world.”

Rumi Washington, 10: A Generator For A New Age

Superhero Kids
Rumi Washington (Photo: National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo)

 

Rumi Washington calls Cleveland, Ohio, home but the sixth grader has created an invention that will possibly change the world. Gener8r is a pollution-free system that uses three different ways to generate electricity using naturally occurring temperature differences: a camping tent that creates electricity using human body heat, an emergency generator that can create electricity from any heat source, and a built-in home system that can be added to a home geothermal system to create electricity from heat waste.

Believe it or not, Rumi was just 9 when he came up with this idea.

“It started out as a way to generate clean energy. I was trying to create a more reliable source than what we have today. I started building magnet wheels and water wheels and I realized that what I was trying to build was a perpetual motion machine,” he explains. “I discovered why perpetual motion wouldn’t work with the science currently available and that what I was really wanted to build was just something that was as efficient as possible. I couldn’t achieve free energy but I could achieve cost-free energy — or at least energy that was free after equipment costs and did not create an environmental cost.”

What Rumi has come up with is a complex, multi-use product.

“The Gener8r is actually three systems that could be used separately or together. I started with a geothermal home because they are really environmentally friendly and can naturally heat and cool off the grid. But they still have a need for electricity and often use solar panels and power plants. The home system takes advantage of the geothermal’s temperature differences by placing thermoelectric plates in the floor that is heated and cooled by geothermal pipes. I also added a thermoelectric pipe that can use heat waste to produce electricity. The idea is to use whatever temperature differences I could find,” he says.

Rumi also wanted to create something people could use in an emergency situation. I needed a way to start the system and to start it back up it in case of emergencies so I invented a thermoelectric emergency generator that could generate enough electricity to start the home’s geothermal water pump in case it stops working. The emergency Gener8r uses the temperature difference between the top plate which is heated and the bottom which is sunk deep enough into the ground to reach constant underground temperatures. For my prototype, I can put my hand on the emergency Gener8r and it lit up LEDs in my model home using thermal plates. I was inspired by the concept of a Stirling engine,” he says.

Rumi also wants to use his invention to help the less fortunate. “I really wanted something for people who did not have homes and just needed shelter and electricity,” he told Moguldom. “I came up with a tent that could be used to provide shelter while the bottom of the tent used the body heat of a person to charge a device. I really got the prototype to work well enough to light up LEDs with just the heat of my fingers on the bottom surface of the tent.”

He is thinking of the future. “Eventually people are going to run out of fossil fuels and we will have to have alternatives. We need to start thinking of alternatives now. One-quarter of our world’s population does not have electricity today. Solving that problem would help a quarter of the world,” he said.

The invention would also be good for when the power goes out during natural disasters.

Rumi loved the inventing process. “I like creating and thinking about how I can positively affect the world. I used to want to be a superhero. I used to think of inventions that could help me have superpowers. People kept telling me that I was really, really super intelligent so I figured that was my superpower. Maybe I can think of things that will help save the world. It’s different than any school assignment I’ve ever had. I learned so many things that I would never have learned otherwise,” he says. “Doing something hands-on like building out a prototype and being able to study in the exact fields that interest me at the time, really helps me to stay interested and want to keep learning.”