Young inventors reach last stretch of rubber band contest


Four finalists, out of more than 500 entrants from 16 states, have been named in the third annual National Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors, hosted by the Akron Global Polymer Academy (AGPA) of The University of Akron.

Rubber Sunset, invented by Rootstown Middle School student Emily Pattie, is a nightlight/3D picture designed to soothe children and help them fall asleep. Her invention is one of four finalists in the third annual Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors.

The middle school-age contest participants entered inventions in Science/Engineering and Arts/Leisure divisions.

Finalists and their inventions are: Eben Carek, Brady Middle School, Pepper Pike, Ohio, for his Portable Finger Exerciser intended for use by beginning string instrument players to help strengthen hand muscles; Emily Pattie, Rootstown Middle School, Rootstown, Ohio, for her Rubber Sunset 3D nightlight; Lexia Forester, Sullivan Middle School, Sullivan, Mo., for her Exa-Stretch lower-arm exercise aid; and Maggie Kubicek, Gilmour Academy, Gates Mills, Ohio, for her MySpace Tray, a restaurant-use serving tray that keeps items in place.

Innovation and usefulness seen in entries

"The APGA Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors provides an excellent, hands-on opportunity for our young students to learn about innovation, design and optimization as they develop their inventions. Many of the students faced challenges with the initial design and like engineers in the real world, needed to redesign and make improvements," says Dr. Carin Helfer, assistant director, AGPA, science education outreach.

A panel of engineers, scientists and fine and performing art experts judged the entries. Criteria ranged from innovation and inventiveness; to usefulness; to research, design and education.

The winner and runner-up for each division will be announced at an awards luncheon on Saturday, May 14, at Quaker Square at The University of Akron. The two winners each will receive a $1,000 savings bond and the two runner-up contestants will receive $500 savings bonds. The top four schools with the most entries, which are Brady Middle School, Pepper Pike; Holy Family School, Kirkland, Wash.; Kaysville Junior High, Kaysville, Utah; and Parkwood Hill Intermediate, Fort Worth, Texas, each receive $250.

In last year’s contest, Benjamin E. Dabney of Radford, Va., placed first in the science/engineering division for his ElastiBed mosquito net invention. Kenneth “Tucker” Haas of Charlotte, N.C., placed first in arts/leisure with his Webands Waterbands social awareness wristbands.

For more details about the contest, visit the Akron Global Polymer Academy.

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or