With the back half of summer starting to wind down, August means “back-to-school” for students! While some students may have spent their summer playing baseball or softball or indoors playing video games and watching Netflix, other young people may have spent their time working on new inventions. Young inventors are extremely capable of being creative and capable of thinking outside-the-box. Some popular and innovative products, still being sold today, were invented by kids.
1) George Nissen – Trampoline
George Nissen was 16 years old in 1930 when he created the trampoline, effectively revolutionizing acrobatics during that time period. Nissen saw trapeze artists finishing routines by dropping into a safety net; however, Nissen thought it would be more fun and entertaining if the artists could keep bouncing around. He ended up in his father’s garage, effectively creating the trampoline by constructing a metal frame with canvas stretched over the top. Nissen continuously improved his idea over the next few years, replacing the canvas with nylon to increase the bounce. He had to travel the world to prove the trampoline’s worth, due to people never believing the invention to be possible. Nissen trademarked the idea and spent the rest of his life doing demonstrations and promoting his trampoline.
2) Kenneth Shinozuka – SafeWander
When Kenneth Shinozuka was four years old, he was walking in a park in Japan with his grandfather, when his grandfather ended up being lost. Kenneth’s family quickly learned that their loved one was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, causing deterioration of the brain cells and causing memory loss. Kenneth and his family needed a way to know when his grandfather wandered out of his bed or home at night. He ended up inventing a sock with an integrated pressure sensor which, when the wearer takes a step, sends a message to a paired smartphone application. The message/alert can be seen by a family member or caretaker, quickly identifying where the sock wearer is located. Kenneth’s invention was highly successful within the medical community, and he is now attending Harvard to further pursue his education.
3) Becky Schroeder – The Glo-Sheet
Becky Schroeder was only 10 years old when she was trying to complete her homework in her mother’s car. As nighttime set in, Becky had a difficult time seeing her books and paper while trying to write. She knew there had to be an easier way to make her paper easier to see in the dark without having to turn on the vehicle lights or hold a flashlight. Becky began playing around with phosphorescent materials designed to exhibit light but without heat. She used phosphorescent paint to cover an acrylic board, effectively creating The Glo-Sheet. At 12 years old, Becky was the youngest woman in history to be approved for a United States patent.