Often inventions have their origin in kids turning their frustrations, mistakes and strokes of luck and brilliance into prototypes that would make their live easer. And sometimes these prototypes turn into commercial successes, businesses and even life-long careers. Ingenuity and imagination are often a bonus, if not a must. Like the 15 years old, Chester Greenwood, whose ears got painfully cold one day when he was ice skating,inventing earmuffs already in 1855. Or even more famous, Louis Braille, who turned blind by the age of five. As he wanted to read books on his own, he got the idea of using raised dots instead of printed letters. He began experimenting with what is now known today as braille writing.
Thus, kid inventors are not a new phenomenon, and with their super-charged curiosity and sky-high imagination, kids have bags of potential to innovate and invent. But they need a bit of encouragement and a few tools to set them on their way.This has not changed till today. But as of today, there are many more tools available: with little microcontrollers like Arduinos, Calliopes or Microbit, kids are offered increasingly new options to invent and steer gadgets.
These options are increasingly used, like kids from the 4a class of the VolksschuleGröbming in Austria do. Already one year ago they were involved in a small DOIT activity, running the processes of inventing and tinkering. At the same time, they started to learn programming Calliopes and applying them to different purposes. Since that time, they continued working with Calliopes and recently the classlaunched a new project, identifying issues forpeople with hearing impairments.They were inventing tools and gadgets that would support their dailylife. One innovative tool from this project is the ‘multifunctional sound box’, that starts blinking as soon as there is loud alarm in the environment of deaf. Thus, the blinking box would catch more easily the attention of deaf in the house like fire alarm or doorbells. Also for taking it with them outside like in cars for identifying sirens from police, fire brigade or ambulances the tool can be helpful.
And who knows, possibly this invention will be one day as successful as the Braille writing …