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Inventors Today, Engineers Tomorrow: UConn Hosts Connecticut Invention Convention

More than 600 children from 68 Connecticut towns showed off their inventions at Gampel Pavilion on Saturday.

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.

His solution?

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:

Ashford

Deep River

Meriden

Orange

Avon

East Hampton

Middlefield

Plainville

Bethany

East Hartford

Moodus

Rocky Hill

Bloomfield

Easton

Mystic

Somers

Bridgeport

Fairfield

N. Grosvenordale

Sterling

Bristol

Greenwich

Naugatuck

Terryville

Brooklyn

Guilford

New Britain

Torrington

Canton

Hamden

New Haven

Vernon

Centerbrook

Hartford

New London

Wallingford

Chaplin

Hebron

Newington

Waterbury

Chester

Higganum

Newtown

Watertown

Clinton

Kent

North Franklin

West Cornwall

Colchester

Killingworth

North Stonington

Westbrook

Columbia

Lebanon

Northford

Westport

Coventry

Madison

Norwalk

Willington

Cromwell

Mansfield

Norwich

Wolcott

Danbury

Marlborough

Old Lyme

Woodstock

 

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
  • CASE
  • Comcast
  • 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
  • mBLAST.com
  • MIT Club of Hartford
  • K-12 Initiative
  • Microsoft
  • 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
  • Vteams
  • Xerox Foundation

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