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A recent Lehigh University graduate is making a colorful splash … literally … with her invention of paint balls that can be thrown like small water balloons.
Briana Gardell had the idea to create what she called Goblies while working on a manufacturing assignment for Lehigh’s Technical Entrepreneurship Program. After attempting to create an egg using soap, Gardell adapted her idea to produce a small and painless water balloon-style ball that uses a wet powder and creates a colorful splat upon impact.
Goblies kits also provide a fun and interactive chemistry lesson for kids. The two ingredients used to make the membrane are sodium alginate and calcium chloride, and the “ice” inside the ball contains calcium chloride. The materials are combined in water as two polymers come together in a process known as cross-linking.
Gardell’s invention helped her earn her master’s degree in Technical Entrepreneurship from Lehigh in May 2015 and top prize in the school’s Nov. 2014 Eureka! Venture Competition. Gardell launched a successful crowd-funding effort on the Kickstarter platform in the summer of 2015, raising nearly $10,000 from people in 31 American states and Canada.
Gardell shared her creation with Da Vinci Science Center visitors during the Center’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Academy event In Feb. 2016 for middle school students and visitors in Feb. 2016, and the Center’s Curiosity has become the first store to sell them on site.