Each year, the innovative and imaginative minds of Connecticut kids come together to share their inventive solutions to address interesting problems at the annual Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC). Held at the University of Connecticut, the state finals is where the most creative inventions are evaluated by judges from across the state.
“The energy is quite infectious – the kids’ excitement about what they’re bringing to show off is really encouraging,” said Michael Carbonetta, manager, Strategic Sourcing, UTC Aerospace Systems.
For more than 20 years, UTC and its businesses proudly support and sponsor the CIC with employee volunteers offering to judge and award the students’ inventions. This year, UTC’s Moving the World Forward Award was given out to six particularly creative and hard-working inventors.
“It’s inspiring and reminds me of why I wanted to become an engineer,” said Jonna Gerken, project manager, Core Manufacturing Engineering, Pratt & Whitney, in regards to the 2017 Connecticut Invention Convention.
“There are opportunities to invent all around you, and it’s really compelling to see how the students relate it back to their personal lives find solutions to address challenges a family member or a friend is facing,” said Harshad Kuntey, senior engineer, Pratt & Whitney.
Sixth-grader Leo Southam invented the “Aqua Tail”, which is a buoyant swimsuit that relies on one’s arms instead of legs to propel the swimmer forward to help address those whose legs are paralyzed. Jasmyn Dillon developed the “Seeing Eye Sonic”, a modified walking stick for individuals who are visually impaired that emits different tones to indicate if an object is on one’s left or right side through using sensors and LEGOs.
“It’s amazing how these students have such a deep knowledge and understanding of the area of science their inventions are a part of,” said Andrew Nguyen, intern, UTC Aerospace Systems. “For example, one student used the electricity generated from a stationary bike pedal to power her phone and clearly had strong background knowledge on how electrons work – it’s incredible!”
Students who won UTC’s sponsor award will now qualify to attend the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo in Washington D.C. in early June.
Crystal Zdanis, project manager, International Tax, UTC, said no matter whether a student wins or loses, it’s important to never give up. “If I could give any piece of advice to these inventors, it would to be resilient and keep moving forward.”