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Magazine Editorial

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Title Creative children around the world
Details In the backdrop of the IGNITE awards, it would be appropriate to review some cases where ingenuity of children has been appreciated around the world. Javier Fernandez Han (then 15, now 18), from Texas, USA, was cited by Ariel Schwartz (2009) for conceptualising an integrated system to treat waste and generate energy through methane produced during anaerobic digestions of waste. In this system, the carbon dioxide produced is expected to be absorbed by algae which, in turn, grows and creates biomass to be used as fodder and the animal waste can be used as manure. At the age of eight, Lily from Connecticut, USA attached shovels to her boots which enabled her to remove snow in the winters without bending her back. Griffin, a 10 year old boy wanted to read while in a bath tub, so he designed a stand for this purpose. Both these kids appeared on the Ellen Show in 2010. The Tan Kah Kee Foundation, Singapore rewards children’s creative ideas each year. One of the notable ideas was the turn table to cut the cake in precise degrees devised by Kei Kunishige (TKK Foundation, 2011). Bryan Yan Kai Jie, Phyllis Toh Xin Yi and Ng Ri Chi developed a game for people to learn sign language (TKK Foundation, 2008). In the same year, Ankita Mukherji and Law May Ning got a Merit Award for designing a cup for the blind. This cup had two inflatable bumps on the sides of the cup (TKK Foundation, 2008). When the water reached the lower level, the lower bump would inflate and when it reached near the brim the higher bump would inflate, indicating the cup was about to be full. Nguyen Vu Khang, a high school kid, discovered a way to prevent his shoelaces from being unfastened accidentally (TKK Foundation, 2012). The design involved weaving the shoelaces across a small button which stayed in its place. The extended ends of shoelaces were passed through a gap in the middle to secure them and prevent the shoelaces from unfastening. When Chris Has (28) was just nine years old, he had invented a basketball that prompted the players to keep their hands at a certain place on the ball when aiming for the basket. He did not win an award but his patent was licensed to companies worldwide and thus earning him a lot of money (Wood, 2012). Mallory Kievman (13) has discovered a formula of lollipops called Hiccupops which stopped hiccups. She tried hundreds of remedies till she found that a formulation based on apple cider, vinegar and sugar formula served the purpose. Students from the University of Connecticut helped her market the candy and a patent was filed (McClelland, 2012). A team from Dublin, Ireland came up with a solution to check whether meat has been stored at the right temperature. The Erasable Barcode disallows the entry of meat into the checkout computer if it has ever been stored at an unsafe temperature, thereby, stopping its sale. The team includes Peter Glaubitz, Edwin Glaubitz, Nathan Sears, Abhimanyu Singhal, Jacob Hoylman, Ananya Rajagopal, Arjun Kumar, Lucie Paradis, Rahul Mal and David Feng (First Lego League, 2012) Germany has a children’s patent office that tries to salvage imaginative ideas of kids that, otherwise, would have been ignored. The office maintains a picture database of all the kid ideas they receive irrespective of their current viability. One such endearing idea is by Manuel (10) who has imagined that there should be a device to convert animal languages into human languages.(Kinderpatentamt, 2012). 14-year-olds Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and 15-year-old Bello Eniola have developed an urine-powered generator. The generator converts urea in the urine to nitrogen, water and hydrogen using an electrolytic cell. The hydrogen, after removal of any moisture, is used as fuel (Protalinski, 2012). 13-year-old kids Stian Sørensen, Jørgen Lions Urdalen, Alexander Aasheim, Emilie Omholt Lang, CecilieWedvik and Andrea Lions worked on a project aimed at helping people with epilepsy. They were disconcerted with the low awareness of the disease and how many people don’t know what to do when someone gets a seizure. They created a product called E-clock, which on the onset of an epileptic fit, played a recorded message which announced the person’s details and measures to provide relief. If the seizure lasts beyond five minutes, this device will open a spray containing EpiStatus (Emergency Medicine) that random passersby can spray to stop the seizure (Norsk Epilepsiforbund, 2010). When Elizabeth Rintels was twelve, she invented a device that could measure and monitor the amount of water used in the shower. It lights up and beeps with every half-gallon of water that flows out (Katz, 2008). Richard Turere, a 13-year old boy in Kenya has invented a device made of LED lamps that blink intermittently giving the lion the illusion that somebody is walking by. This keeps them from attacking cattle at night. Turere has been offered many scholarships and his story has received international attention (Hattam, 2012) These are selected few of many such examples around the world. An encouraging sign is that there are even more fora springing up across the world to support the uncompromised creativity of children. From Singapore to Germany, and from Ireland to Nigeria platforms are emerging, where creative children can be heard of without being subject to condescension or ridicule. The full reference list for this article is available on www.honeybee.org
Volume No. Honey Bee 23(3) 19-21, 2012