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Here are the 2013 Inventerprise Contest Winners!
You would think that not much could be done to improve the lowly coat hanger—but you would be wrong! Some 1,350 Central Oregon students proposed improvements to gadgets, systems, or processes—including the coat hanger—in Inventerprise 2013, the annual science problem-solving contest sponsored by Bend Research, with help from Bend-La Pine Schools and Central Oregon Community College.
Winners were announced this week from 1,090 entries in this year’s 22nd annual contest. Students from 34 Central Oregon schools and homeschoolers in grades K-12 competed for cash and other prizes in the contest.
This year, students were challenged by the statement “I can do better than this” to reinvent everything from everyday gadgets to industrial projects. Their responses ranged from a device to suck the muck from Mirror Pond to a device that prevented drivers from texting while in a moving vehicle.
Several students tackled problems with hangers. A first-grade student from St. Thomas Academy in Redmond submitted a working model of a pull-down hanger designed to easily remove clothing from her closet. A Black Butte School sixth-grader submitted a working prototype of a hinged, spring-loaded hanger that fits into shirts without stretching the neck and pops open once it’s in place.
Three Summit High School students took the top prizes in the high school division. Bailey Delanty, a junior, won $500 for first place for a wetsuit with features designed to save divers during shark attacks. Freshman Rya Hickey took the $400 second prize for an exerciser that takes swimmers on exciting adventures using virtual-reality goggles. Third place and $300 was awarded to junior Annie Jarvis for a social website for bullied or otherwise distressed students to have an “interactive social connection.” Four other students received honorable mention awards for their entries, winning $150 each: Waldorf School of Bend freshman Madelyn Lippencott, Madras High sophomore Joshua Hocker, and Summit High senior Henry Mensing and junior Alli Dona.
In the middle-school division, three students will receive grand prizes. Anya Rozek, a sixth-grade student at Westside Village Magnet School, invented a “pump” the size of a quarter to help control blood insulin levels in athletes. Isaac Kocurek-Orr and Scotty Wallace, Cascades Academy eighth-graders, worked together on an improved ski boot, which features an adjustable inflatable bladder for a perfect fit. The inventers claim the boot would allow growing children to use the same boot for multiple years. All three middle-school winners can choose from among an iPod, a mountain bike, a GoPro® camera, a tablet computer, and a season pass to Mount Bachelor for his or her prize.
Hundreds of students in lower grades submitted entries, either individually or in teams of up to three. Several students at each grade level will receive prizes for their efforts, along with an invitation to a special Science Night program held in their honor at the Bend Research laboratories in Tumalo.
Besides the simple coat hanger, many household chores inspired improvements to familiar designs. Several students proposed self-cleaning toilets. A middle school student developed a straw that is chilled and then placed in a too-hot beverage to cool the drink without diluting it. Other students designed an armband that vibrates to wake the wearer, a hairbrush that can dispense water or soap, gloves with improved grip, and a rug that lights up when it is stepped on. A first-grader suggested that rubber shoelaces would produce knots that are hard to untie and a kindergartener suggested a shoelace-tying robot.
In this year’s contest, sport and recreation inspired many students. Students at several different grade levels redesigned bicycle and football helmets to better prevent concussions. The stylish "Frotector" designed by one third-grader had six inches of protective foam on the exterior of football and bike helmets. A fourth-grader submitted a working model of the "Rotissinator," a rotary hand-powered campfire skewer. Traction horseshoes and seat belts for horse saddles were devised, as were snow skis with GPS and LED displays on the tips to provide the skier with updated speed, location, weather, and altitude data.
Transportation got plenty of attention. A team of middle school students designed a new high-speed rail system powered by compressed gas. Their extensive calculations predict that the system will be efficient and capable of reaching speeds of 600 mph. Younger students designed a bus that automatically extends seat belts around children. One first-grader proposed a bicycle that has an umbrella and a chair for a seat, equipped with a safety belt. Another first-grader drew plans for a helicopter bike. A fourth-grader designed a smart-phone application for a security camera mounted on a house doorbell.
Winners at each grade level, and the schools they attend, are listed below.