Oct. 8 is National Hero Day, and at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), we know that every day is a great day to celebrate our Inductees and collegiate inventors as innovation heroes! Take a few minutes to think about inventions that are part of your everyday life. Then, join in the fun by designing a household invention to solve a tricky problem or enhance the fun of completing a task.
Need to spark some ideas? Check out this Foldibot activity inspired by the “Abby Invents” children’s book series by Arlyne Simon, a biomedical engineer, patented inventor and author! Why not try following in the footsteps of Simon and Abby by coming up with your own version of Foldibot?
- Pencil or markers
- Tape and/or glue
In Simon’s “Abby Invents: The Foldibot” book, Abby and her cousin Miko design an awesome invention called the Foldibot. This device can fold clean clothes automatically! After reading the book, follow these steps:
- Think about other opportunities for a Foldibot:
- Might it fold recyclables to make more room in the recycling bin?
- Could it fold paper into different types of airplanes?
- Might it fold ingredients together for a recipe?
- Write down and/or sketch all your ideas and then select the ones you are most excited to create!
- Using recyclables and other crafting items, design a Foldibot prototype (a model) for one or all of your ideas.
- Test your prototype(s) to determine what works best and what can be improved.
- Finalize one of your designs and test it again.
- Share your version of the Foldibot with someone who might benefit from using it!
What Are We Discovering?
Inventions often begin with the goal of solving a problem. Simon, who was a 2013 Collegiate Inventors Competition® Finalist, is passionate about being a problem-solving inventor. She developed a diagnostic test for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a medical concern for patients who have undergone bone marrow transplantation. In 2017, she was recognized as a trailblazing innovator by NIHF and the United States Patent and Trademark Office! Simon’s insights and words of wisdom have been featured in NIHF education programs including Camp Invention® and Invention Project® to inspire young innovators across the country.
While Simon has a degree in engineering, and Abby uses the engineering process to respond to a challenge with a creative solution, you don’t have to be an engineer to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to bring your creative ideas to life. You can simply begin the invention process by using your senses of curiosity and wonder!