Kids can invent the darnedest things—and the TMC Young Inventors Forum is an example of just how creative they can be.
For the past three years, the British International School of Houston and the Texas Medical Center have partnered on the TMC Young Inventors Forum, an eight-week program for 7- and 8-year-old students to learn the fundamentals of innovation and how to apply them to health care.
Monday’s event was the culmination of the program, when 14 teams pitched their health care solutions to parents, teachers and a judging panel of community leaders at the TMC Innovation Institute.
“This is exciting because we started this program not just for fun, but because invention and entrepreneurship are skills that should be learned early on in life,” said William McKeon, president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center. “Every child can be a CEO of a company, and every child can have an idea that is a breakthrough.”
In addition, eight teams of fifth-graders, who were part of the inaugural Young Inventors Forum, came back to pitch new ideas and display a new level of entrepreneurship by adding financial information to their products, including cost, profit margins, pricing and marketing.
The curriculum was led by Katharine Forth, Ph.D., CEO of iShoe, which creates products to measure and track balance. iShoe was part of the first TMCx Accelerator class.
Judging the inventions were Julia Andrieni, M.D., vice president of population health and primary care at Houston Methodist Hospital and president and CEO of Houston Methodist Physicians’ Alliance for Quality; Karen Bell, consul general of the United Kingdom; Houston Council Members Dwight Boykins and Amanda Edwards; and Bernard Harris, M.D., CEO of Vesalius Ventures.
Each of the participants walked away with a medal, a goody bag and a T-shirt.
In addition, five teams were awarded lightbulb-shaped trophies in the categories of:
- Strength of Pitch: Staying Alive T-shirt – a T-shirt that shows hand placement for CPR.
- Marketability: DriveMe Chair – a self-driving wheelchair.
- Quality of Prototype: Fluffy Crutch Helper – making crutches softer and more comfortable to use.
- Degree of Impact: Eye Help You – a computer that helps patients with ALS communicate through eye movements.
- Innovativeness: Sunshine Cast – a cast that aids in vitamin D absorption.
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