Last fall, hundreds of children in Connecticut looked at problems in the world around them and thought, “I bet we can make this better.”
So they began analyzing problems and refining ideas, sometimes meeting with failure, but often finding success. On Saturday, 606 young inventors brought their ideas to Gampel Pavilion in Storrs for the 28th annual Connecticut Invention Convention, hosted by UConn’s School of Engineering.
“Six hundred and six different problems, six hundred and six different solutions,” said a 164-year-old Thomas Edison, portrayed by impersonator Patrick Garner.
Emmett Christenson, a third grader from Southeast Elementary School in Mansfield, had a problem with the vibrations from the washing machine keeping him awake at night.
A large block of concrete on top of the washing machine that “cancels the vibrations on the washing machine by vibration at the same frequency as the washing machine during the spin cycle,” Emmett said.
“It’s a simple enough concept and it works so well,” said his father, Richard Christenson, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UConn.
In fact, according to Emmett, it works so well that it reduces the vibrations of the washing machine by 98 percent, enough to make it so that when he placed a cup of water on the machine during the spin cycle, the water barely dimpled at all.
The Connecticut Invention Convention is the oldest continuously running children’s invention program in the nation and includes students from more than 100 schools in grades K-8.
Participants are separated into age-based judging circles and showcase prototypes to three judges and three fellow inventors.
Three winners are chosen in each circle. Numerous special awards are given throughout the day in categories like "Most Patentable" and "Most Green."
The judges hail from various scientific disciplines, including a few whose first experience with the convention was as a young, red-shirted inventor.
Visit www.CTInventionConvention.org for more information about the event.
Towns represented at the 2011 Connecticut Invention Convention:
Here is a list of the community, educational institutions, businesses and charitable organizations that supported the non-profit program this year:
- UConn School of Engineering
- Alstom Power
- Annie E. Casey Foundation
- Bank of America
- Boehringer-Ingelheim Cares Foundation
- Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Cantor Colburn LLP
- Connecticut Light & Power
- Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology
- CT Space Grant College Consortium
- Dominion Nuclear Connecticut
- DST Output
- GE Energy Industrial Solutions
- General Dynamics Electric Boat
- The Institute of Materials Science/UConn
- Liberty Bank Foundation, Lincoln Financial Foundation
- Loureiro Engineering Associates
- MIT Club of Hartford
- K-12 Initiative
- The P&G Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation
- People’s United Community Foundation
- Pitney Bowes Inc.
- Stanley Black & Decker
- UConn School of Business
- United Technologies
- Xerox Foundation