AT ITEX 2017 we are all about paying tribute to the young and brilliant minds of our time. The World Young Inventors Exhibition (WYIE) will return again this year to send out a clear message: everyone has the capacity to invent. The exhibition is set to showcase what a touch of genius can do to an idea regardless of age.
So to get your excitement up about visiting WYIE this year, here’s a lineup of brilliant junior inventors from around the world who managed to get their playroom ideas out into the real world!
Bet you thought that the good old popsicle was invented by a multimillion dollar food company when really, it was the brainchild of an 11 year old boy named Frank Epperson. Frank’s idea was in fact accidental and it has got us all thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?”
In 1905, Epperson had left a mixture of powdered soda, water and a stick in a cup on his porch overnight when it was freezing. He woke up the next morning and voila, it was a frozen treat on a stick!
He initially called it the “Epsicle,” but the kids at this school kept asking for “Pop’s ‘sicle’ and that is how the name Popsicle was born. He got a patent on it in 1923 and then sold the rights to a bigger company. Today, the brand is owned by Unilever and they sell more than two billion Popsicles every year.
The trampoline was a result of a 16 year old gymnast bouncing off the idea of inventing a device that could help her improve her skills. Iowa native George Nissen visited a circus one day where he saw trapeze artists using safety netting to perform amazing feats. So, Nissen began working in his parents’ garage to develop the kind of bouncing apparatus he had thought up in his mind.
His first successful prototype was constructed while he was a student at the University of Iowa, and it was a big hit when he brought the model to a summer camp. Nissen then began efforts to bring it to the commercial public. The trampoline was named after the Spanish word for diving board – el trampolin. He obtained “Trampoline” as a trademark name for his device.
You might think that an effective system to help the blind read and write would have to be invented by an old but very bright professor. We all thought wrong because it was Louis Braille who invented Braille, an alphabet using raised dots, at the age of 15. Prior to that, each letter was raised and to read, one had to feel out each letter. The books were heavy and took a long time to read. Braille was actually born with sight but became blind at age three after an eye injury. He invented the Braille 5 years after he entered the Royal Institute for the Blind in Paris.
In 1922, an enterprising 18-year-old water-sports enthusiast, Ralph Samuelson, came up with the idea of waterskiing. However, apparatus for the sport was as sophisticated as what you see today. After trying wooden barrel staves and actual snow skis for skis, he ended up with his own design and bindings made of leather. Samuelson is also credited with the first ski jump using a greased ramp. He spent the next 15 years performing shows and promoting his sport, at one point even being pulled by a World War II flying boat to reach a speed of 80 miles per hour, making him the first speed skier. Unfortunately, he never patented his invention.
The inventors of this super hero might come as surprise to many. Two 18-year-olds who loved comic books and science fiction, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster began making cartoons and homemade fanzines while they were still in high school. One of their creations was the caped superhero called “the Superman”. It appeared 1933 as a short story, “The Reign of the Superman.” The idea of Superman however didn’t exactly fly of the shelves. After developing the character more, they were met with years of rejection — that is until 1938, when National Allied Publications (the precursor to DC Comics) selected it as the cover story for the company’s Action Comics No. 1. In 1939, Siegel and Shuster began the syndicated Superman comic strip; having sold the rights to National, they were never significantly acknowledged for their creation.
So, the above inventions are just a few examples to whet your appetite. There’s plenty more where those came from and the best way to catch them all is of course at The World Young Inventors Exhibition (WYIE) taking place at ITEX 2017 from 11-13th May 2017. If you are keen on exhibiting at WYIE, CLICK HERE and secure your place now.
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