Young Minds, Inventing Change

By Anne Wintroub, Director of Social Innovation, AT&T
Apr 14, 2016 2:35 PM ET

Connect to Good

Old fashioned play and tomorrow’s technology are connected – the most advanced technologies and machinery are often created by literally tinkering with them, taking them apart and putting them back together again. That is why AT&T supports programs like Imagination Foundation – an organization dedicated to finding, fostering and funding creativity and entrepreneurship. Together, we can raise a new generation of innovators and problem solvers who have the tools they need to build the world they imagine.

Last month, we collaborated with Imagination Foundation to launch the first ever Inventor’s Challenge. The competition invited students of all ages from around the world to create novel, imaginative and possibly viable solutions to all sorts of problems – and the responses were incredible. More than 350 students, from New York to Nairobi, sent in their ideas on how to solve all sorts of issues.

Imagination Foundation and AT&T’s Intellectual Property (IP) team reviewed the ideas through the students’ video submissions. Richard Palazzo, my colleague on the IP Patent Development team and one of the Inventor's Challenge judges, told me, “These students showed the kind of visionary and innovative approach to solving problems we look for every day at AT&T.”

Out of the more than 350 applicants, we found three students whose inventions truly represented the goal of the competition and the use of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) in their inventions. Check out their creativity:

  • First Prize goes to Alex Knoll of Post Falls, ID for his invention, 'The Ability App' – an application which aims to help people with disabilities and their caregivers search locations for specific accessible features, services and employment. Check it out here.
  • Second Prize goes to Bram Schork, of Villanova, PA for his invention, 'The Waterbot' – a device designed to read soil moisture levels to determine when plants and vegetables need water, while also managing use of this precious resource. View his video here.
  • Third Prize goes to Annalise Groves of Manchester, NH for her invention, 'RockMate' – an invention that allows you to access your phone while climbing without fear of dropping it. Watch her video here.

I am so proud of all the students who entered this competition and used hands-on exploring, discovering, and making to answer a problem they saw in their community. At AT&T, we look forward to watching today’s youth grow into the makers and builders of tomorrow.

If you’d like to see all of the inventions, check out the videos on the Inventor’s Challenge playlist.