Our featured student inventor is Nivedha Naren, who designed an interesting school supply. Her idea won a national level award as part of the “Student Ideas for a Better America” competition organized by the National Museum of Education.
Here is Nivedha talking about her idea in more detail.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Nivedha Naren. I am a 4th grader at Albert Einstein elementary Quest program. I love reading fiction and it takes me into a dream world. I love art, math and science – especially when they can go together.
What is your invention and how does it work?
My invention is called a “Penyon”. It is a combination of a mechanical pencil and crayon especially made for artists. This contraption has the standard mechanical pencil on one side and slots on the other side where you can put crayons. You can get your choice of colored crayon at the press of a button. When not used, it helps store all your crayons safely in one place.
What inspired you to develop this invention?
In my after school, we had a large bin full of crayons that kids used on a daily basis. Most of the time, crayons were either broken or lost. Also I found it hard to select the color I wanted from this large bin full of crayons. When I am doing my art, I always alternate between pencil and crayons. On many occasions, I have spent time searching for my pencil at different places.
Did your prototype work? How was that experience?
I made a model of my contraption using construction paper. I made a cylindrical object from the construction paper along with a cone tip for the mechanical pencil. I then used different colored construction papers to resemble the crayons. I glued them on to the back of the pencil to create a ‘ model’ of my contraption. It was not a working prototype but a model. I ideated the working of the button based on the simple idea used in ballpoint pens – i.e. a button with a spring action to push the crayon. I initially thought of having one button per slot to select the crayon but then drew inspiration from a multi-colored pen to have only one color selected.
What are some things you learned from your MindAntix camp that will help you in the future?
I loved MindAntix camp because it helped in bringing out my creative side. We were encouraged to think out of the box and share ideas. We always make our own things such as a full fledged puppet show where we designed the puppets from scratch.
Who is your favorite inventor and why?
I am inspired by many scientists and social workers. But recently i read about Ann Makosinski who became an inventor at the age of 15. She invented a flashlight powered by body heat. I felt it was a great invention because it solved a very practical problem.
What kind of problems do you want to solve in the future?
I am very passionate about the earth and our environment. I am awed by the great colors around us. I want to solve problems that are destroying nature. I want to preserve the nature around us and its colors for our future generations to enjoy.
How will you use your prize money?
Gosh. I haven’t made any plans yet. But I want to save 70% of the money for my future education and I will make some plans with the rest of the money. Perhaps, I will buy a pet tortoise!
Congratulations Nivedha for winning the award! We hope you get to play with your pet tortoise soon.