ePals Corporation and the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation's Spark!Lab have announced the 26 student winners and runners up in the 2012 Invent It! Challenge contest.
Students were challenged to come up with solutions to problems in their schools, to improve on inventions being used in their schools, or to invent solutions for larger real-world problems that exist today.
Winners and runners up were chosen from among hundreds of entries across different categories and age groups, all of which are highlighted at www.ePals.com. They include:
* A 13-year-old boy from Chapel Hill, N.C., and his construction of a portable transport vehicle for children and elderly refugees who must flee conflict and famine-that could save lives the world over;
* A 9-year-old Mississippi girl's prototype of a purse that has a solar-powered light inside, brightening the chances of finding your house keys;
* A 16-year-old girl from Indiana's development of an interactive homework-help ‘app' for smartphones and handheld devices;
* A 6-year-old child from Pennsylvania's "turbo skraper" to make snow and ice removal from a car windshield easier than ever;
* A 9-year-old New Jersey girl, affected by her grandfather's Parkinson's, invented a "sand sleeve" that is a wrist guard with sand in it, the weight of which steadies her grandfather's hand so he can sign his name.
This year's entries reflect an awareness of academic, environmental and practical issues, and also show a deep understanding and empathy for those in different circumstances, such as the elderly and people facing war and conflict, say experts in inventions and global innovation. A social media campaign was added to this year's voting process, with ePals Choice nominees given two weeks to reach out and solicit votes for their projects. Thousands of people from around the world weighed in with their choices.
Prizes for selected winners in different categories include patent applications, which will be evaluated by the law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP.
Other prizes include LEGO sets, scholarships to Invent Now Inc.'s Camp Invention, class participation in a video chat with an inventor from the Lemelson Center, and more. Prizes are provided by sponsors, including LEGO and the Nelson Mullins law firm.
The full list of winners and runners up, and all of the Invent It! Challenge entries, can be viewed at http://en.community.epals.com/smithsonian_on_epals/p/inventionchallenge2012winners.aspx.
Source: ePals Corporation, www.epals.com