I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. – Thomas Edison

I’ve always been inspired by that famous quote, and I use it today, often, with my kids. Behind Edison’s many inventions there must have been countless imaginative ideas, endless hours of tinkering and thousands of prototypes.

Take a look at the incredible entries of our 5 winners and 1 honorable mention recipient, I know you’ll feel as excited about this next generation of young inventors, already hard at work and ready to change the world, as I do.

That’s why I was so excited to collaborate with Imagination.org for the 3rd annual Inventor’s Challenge. The competition brings together curious and creative young minds from 184 cities around the world, inviting them to create solutions that address issues in their communities.

We received over 248 entries, all inspiring both in concept and execution. Take a look at the incredible entries of our 5 winners and 1 honorable mention recipient, I know you’ll feel as excited about this next generation of young inventors, already hard at work and ready to change the world, as I do.

Grace Hopper Incubator Prize

This year’s top prize went to Stria, a truly remarkable invention from a group of high school students in San Mateo, California. The team created a solution that helps visually impaired people overcome obstacles like crossing the street. After 8 unique ideas and 24 prototypes, the team landed on Stria. Stria is a belt that alerts the wearer with a minor vibration if they began to veer to one side of the crosswalk – an invention with powerful potential for good.

Thomas Edison Prize Winner (Pre-K – Grade 2)

This year’s prize was awarded to San Diego-based Checklistinator, invented by young student Mihir. Checklistinator is a digital checklist. The device attaches to any backpack and helps students remember to fill it with everything they need for school.

Alexander Graham Bell Prize (Grade 3 – Grade 5) 

South Dakota native Ethan took home the Alexander Graham Bell prize for his invention, Gravel Grippers. As a young runner himself, his mobile sand and salt dispensers help combat icy, dangerous sidewalks. And, after receiving additional input from family and friends, he created a second prototype that can attach to a cane, helping the elderly in his community navigate slippery sidewalks. 

Nikola Tesla Prize (Grade 6 – Grade 8)

The Hover Cleaning Cart, created by Alabama native Maddie, helps solve the problem that so often comes with cleaning the house – supplies everywhere. She invented a mobile unit that secures various cleaning supplies. This lets the user move from room to room with ease.

Leonardo da Vinci Prize (Grade 9 – Grade 12)

Self-proclaimed tech-lovers Leonard and David witnessed friends, family and classmates fall victim to online password theft. That was the inspiration for the 2 Brooklyn natives’ invention, Securlio Passgen. Securlio Passgen is a password generator and manager that doesn’t store your passwords anywhere traceable, yet fills your passwords in as you navigate the internet. It creates individual passwords site by site, using the URLs encryption and a master password that the user provides.

Honorable mention

This year, Imagination.org also gave an honorable mention to Day Zero Hero, a group of 5th graders from the Imagination Chapter in Indianapolis. Together, the team decided to focus on the growing water scarcity issues in Cape Town, South Africa. They developed a device that helps users efficiently water their plants.

To learn more about Imagination.org and Inventor’s Challenge, or any of these inspiring young inventors, go to www.inventorschallenge.org.

About the Author

Anne Wintroub

Anne_Wintroub

Anne Wintroub is a Director of Social Innovation at AT&T. She is located in San Francisco.

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