When Travis Root was a kid, he loved to tinker. From science kits to model rockets, some of his fondest childhood memories involved taking things apart to learn how they operated. Because of this, when his parents enrolled him in Camp Invention® starting in the fourth grade at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Norwalk, Ohio, the experience was a perfect fit.
“I thought it was the greatest thing,” Root said in an interview with the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF). “Camp Invention was the first time where it became clear to me that you could do stuff with the things you build — from starting a business to changing the world. It was really exciting!”
Camp Invention also introduced Root to intellectual property, and he remembers learning the word “patent” and the importance of protecting one’s invention.
A Patent of His Own
Fast forward to today, and Root has recently earned a patent of his own. As a military product and customer requirements manager at ForeFlight LLC, a company that creates flight navigation software for personal, business, military, commercial and educational uses, Root earned a patent for the “Bullseye” technology used in ForeFlight Mobile, the company’s flagship product.
Along with engineer Luis Manuel, who is also listed on the patent, Root developed a digital bullseye that pilots can share in confidence with other pilots who are using the app. As a U.S. Air Force veteran himself, Root explained that while the concept of sharing a private location with other friendly pilots as a way of determining any ally’s location is common practice, having this functionality integrated in an app has allowed for additional, innovative functionalities.
“The fact that we included backward compatibility for ‘Bullseye’ is something I’m particularly proud of,” Root said. “This means that you can tap anywhere on the screen, and the app will tell you where your location is relative to the bullseye.”
Additionally, Root has two more pending patents: one that aids pilots in managing collections of geospatial information, and another that accurately maps military training routes.
“ForeFlight is very supportive when it comes to helping their employees apply for patents,” Root said. “Ultimately, they helped make it happen, and I owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Advice for Young Innovators
When asked if he had any advice to share with students today who might want to follow a path similar to his, Root expressed the importance of finding work that is both interesting and meaningful to them.
“Go work in a field that you really care about, because that will sustain you. Find a job that is intrinsically fulfilling,” he said.
He recommends programs like Camp Invention because from a young age, participants are given the freedom to explore and create in an unbounded way.
“It’s really important to have open-ended problems to figure out because that’s how business works,” Root said. “Programs like Camp Invention better prepare kids for what life is actually like.”
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To learn more about this year’s all-new Camp Invention program, Recharge, check out our website!