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Highlights: Call Mothers the Mother of Invention

Cavalier Family
Perhaps it is time to change the old saying that necessity is the mother of invention.

People who are involved with the Da Vinci Science Center’s Inventor’s Lab Program may be more likely to tell you that mothers, in fact, are the mother of invention.

The Inventor’s Lab Program gives a group of young students a unique opportunity each year to learn about the invention process and develop their own invention ideas under the mentorship of professional scientists, engineers, marketing experts, and inventors.

Each year, the budding inventors present their ideas before a panel of judges (think the Shark Tank TV show without the over-the-top manufactured drama and Mark Cuban’s over-the-top ego) who choose one idea as the program’s most patent-worthy. The winner then gets to work with the program’s leader and former Da Vinci Science Center Chairman, Frank K. Schweighardt, Ph.D., on pursuing a potential U.S. Patent application. As Dr. Schweighardt holds more than 45 patents, he knows a thing or two about the process.

In recent years, two of the program’s winning ideas were inspired by mothers … more specifically by mothers reprimanding their children.

First was Ambrose Cavalier of Saylorsburg, Pa., which is second from the left in the larger picture above. He was nine years old in 2012 when he developed a unique bottle cap that allows users to adjust how much syrup flows from the bottle. His inspiration was hearing his mother, Nina Cavalier, admonish him for spilling syrup all over. Nina is the last person on the right of the photo that was taken during a costume party at our Center. Rest assured that they don’t usually dress like that.

Vidhyasai Annem of Allentown, Pa., was the program’s winner in 2014. She was tired of hearing her mother chide her for leaving hair everywhere when she brushed it. Her winning invention was a multiple-section hair brush that keeps stray hair from falling to the floor through use of a special fluid.

As we mark Mother’s Day weekend in 2015, there is no shortage of reasons why mothers should be thanked. If there were such a shortage, young people like Ambrose and Vidhya would be able to invent more, and their mothers would have even more reasons to be proud of them.

Dennis Zehner (son of Barbara Numbers Zehner), 484.664.1002, Ext. 112


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