St Paul gave his colleague St Timothy excellent advice when he told him not to let anyone look down on him because of his youth. Young people can be incredible forces of change, and as the following inventions by children prove, it is almost always to make the world a better place.
Whether their inventions make cooking bacon easier, or they help supply homes with electricity, they show that a little imagination can go a long way.
George Nissen (16) – Trampoline
16-year-old George Nissen’s big idea, the trampoline, came to him at the end of a trapeze artists’ demonstration in 1930. The teenager thought of a way for them to make their exit as exciting as a game of online Bingo NZ.
He put together a metal frame with canvas stretched over it. Later, he swapped the canvas for nylon, gave it the name ‘trampoline’, and even demonstrated how to use it.
Abbey Fleck (8) – Makin’ Bacon
While 8-year-old Abbey Fleck and her father were cooking bacon one day in the early 1990s, they discovered that they had run out of the paper towel they used for draining the meat. The only alternative was newspaper.
The girl realised that hanging up the bacon during cooking meant they would not need paper towels at all. They designed and produced a prototype in 1993, and then patented it in 1994. It was not long before they signed a distribution deal with Walmart.
Richie Stachowski (11) – Water Talkie
In 1996, 11-year-old Richie Stachowski and his family spent a vacation in Hawaii. While surfing with his father one day, they dove underwater.
He would have liked to talk to his father about what he was seeing, so he set out to make underwater communication easier. He read about acoustics, and he started experimenting with designs in swimming pools. He struck a deal with Toys R Us after perfecting his design, and he started a pool toy company which he sold a few years later.
William Kamwamba (14) – Electricity Windmill
Malawian William Kamwamba was 14 years old when, inspired by a basic plan he saw in a book at the library and later modified, he built a windmill.
William’s windmill generated enough electricity to power two radios and four lights. A local newspaper printed a story about him, and a few years later, he appeared on stage at a TEDGlobal event. He was able to add solar power to his energy project. He also worked on a solar-powered pump for a deep well, and water purification, drip irrigation, and malaria prevention projects.
Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz (8) – Solar Water Heater
Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López became the first child to recieve the ICN Women’s Recognition Award from the Institute of Nuclear Science at Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM). She was 8 years old when she constructed a solar-powered water heater using recycled wood, glass, bottles, and pipes. In an interview, she said that one of her invention’s benefits is it spares trees from being used for firewood to heat water.