We know kids are creative and inventive. From their limitless imaginations to their artistic inclinations, children are known for the playful ways in which they learn and innovate.
But did you know that some of today's most useful inventions were actually conceived by kids? This should not be too hard to believe. Mozart was, after all, just five when he dreamed up his first composition.
Here are five great inventions thought up by children proving great things can come from small packages! These wonderful innovations are not just brilliant, they are contributing to make the world a better place. We dare you not to be impressed.
1. The ultra-efficient catalyst turning Egypt's plastic waste into biofuel
Egyptian teenager Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad was just 16 years old when she discovered an inexpensive and speedy catalyst capable of turning plastic waste into biofuel at a sustainable rate. Faiad conceived of a process that uses a chemical called aluminosilicate to break down plastic into methane, propane, and ethane.
The inventive youngster has estimated that her process could generate up to 138,000 tons of hydrocarbon gases per year, equivalent to $78 million in revenues. Her work has already garnered her the European Fusion Development Agreement award at the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists as well as interest from the Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute.
Faiad's solution is not only a potential key to solving the country's plastic waste problems it can also give the economy a significant boost. We are sure we will be hearing more from this resourceful young lady!
2. The emergency mask pod for people trapped in burning buildings
In 2013, teenager Alexis Lewis read the story of a woman forced to throw her infant out of a second story floor to save it from smoke inhalation. This led the inventive young lady to be inspired to devise a solution that could offer people trapped in burning buildings better survival options.
As such, the Emergency Mask Pod followed! Lewis ingeniously combined a lightweight smoke mask, made by Xcaper Industries, with her own system for launching the emergency device up into open windows.
This system consisted of a unique football-shaped projectile capable of safely carrying the mask into a second story window. Lewis went through several models, each printed on her MakerBot 3D printer, and recruited the help of firefighters to test them.
Lewis produced several pod prototypes that were thrown into second story windows more than 290 times by a total of 37 firefighters. In the end, Lewis chose the football-shaped prototype due to its accuracy rate of over 70 percent.
3. The algae powered device that converts cars' carbon dioxide emissions into oxygen
In 2008, Param Jaggi was just sixteen years old when, like most kids his age, he was learning to drive. However, his driving lessons led him to be more concerned with his car's emissions than his upcoming road test.
This inspired him to build the Algae Mobile, an algae powered device that can transform car emissions into oxygen. But Jaggi did not stop there! He filed a patent for his invention and proceeded to build several variations of his environmentally friendly contraption.
Today, this intrepid young man is now the CEO of his own firm, Hatch Technologies, with several more projects under his belt. It should also be noted that although the Algae Mobile garnered him worldwide attention, Jaggi's first invention was created when he was just 13.
At the time, his early EcoTube, a simple tube-like device for reducing carbon emissions from the exhaust of motor vehicles, failed to grab media headlines but it did pave the path for his future success. Jaggi has now accrued several accolades, including Forbes 30 under 30 nomination, and continues to speak passionately about science and technology matters.
4. The life-saving apparatus for children stuck in hot cars
It seems such an easily avoidable tragedy and yet the news is filled with stories of children dying as a result of being left in hot cars. Every such story is met with incredulous despair as people ask themselves how such devastating events can be avoided.
In 2011, 11-year-old middle-schooler Andrew Pelham wondered the same thing when hearing about the unfortunate death of a 10-month-old baby left in a hot van. It was then that Pelham came up with the idea for the EZ Baby Saver.
Made from rubber bands and duct tape, the device was a colorful bungee-like contraption that could hook onto the driver’s door to ensure no one could exit the car without first checking the back seat. The result would be that no parent could forget a quiet or sleeping child.
Pelham even shared instructions for how to make the relatively simple invention on his site. Both the site and the product seem to have disappeared off the market since then. But we had to give this young man kudos for his earnest efforts!
5. The writing system that brought reading to the visually impaired
Braille today is known as the code that allows the visually impaired to read many languages, including English, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. Although traditionally reserved for embossed paper, the tactile system can now be communicated through current electronic devices via the use of refreshable braille displays, electro-mechanical devices for displaying the characters with raised pins.
What few may know is that this elegant and efficient communications tool was created by a teenager. Its inventor Louis Braille was just 15 years old back in 1824 when he conceived of the system that has survived to this day.
Braille had lost his sight as a result of a childhood accident. Desiring to improve upon the then popular night writing code developed during war, he created and later, in 1829, published the code which would be known as braille.
His second revision, published in 1837, would come to be recognized as the first small binary form of writing developed in the modern era. Braille is today celebrated as a hero and a genius and both accolades are very well-deserved!
6. The Lego printer that brought braille to the masses
Following on the footsteps of braille's inventor, 13-year-old Shubham Banerjee is responsible for making the printing of this crucial code available to the masses. Indeed, before Banerjee, braille printers cost upward of $2,000.
When little Banerjee discovered this, he was determined to do something about it. Equipped with a Lego's Mindstorms EV3 block kit, the inventive teen engineered his own Lego-based printer at a fraction of the traditional models' standard prices.
The invention earned him a Tech Awards 2014 merit and an invitation to the White House Maker Faire. It also led him to start his own brailler printer firm Braigo Labs which later developed the "world’s first Low-Cost/Silent/on-chip translation/IOT-Cloud enabled printer concept."
7. The super-efficient Ebola-detecting test
This 16-year-old from the US was inspired by the devastating news of an Ebola outbreak to invent a super-efficient test for the virus. Her efforts garnered her the 2015 Google Science Fair prize.
Oliva Hallisey's test is temperature-independent, fast, cheap, and stable. Furthermore, it gives easy-to-read results in less than 30 minutes, possibly before the carrier has even begun showing symptoms.
This means the test could one day detect Ebola in a carrier before the patient becomes infectious. In addition, the invention could contribute to improving recovery rates as the quicker a carrier is treated the more likely they are to survive.