Springhouse Middle School student invents new way of preserving fresh produce
The Da Vinci Science Center is pleased to announce Reva Gandhi, an eighth-grader at Springhouse Middle School in Allentown, Pa., as the winner of the 2019 Da Vinci Science Center Inventor’s Lab Most Patentable Idea Award.
Gandhi and 20 other young inventors participated in the Science Center’s eight-month-long Inventor’s Lab program, which challenges 5th through 8th graders in the Lehigh Valley to become inventors by defining a problem and solving it in a unique and novel way. Each year, one student is selected to continue working with an attorney toward earning a U.S. Patent. The winning entry is chosen based on the opinions of an expert panel that includes intellectual property lawyers and industry professionals, judged on the criteria of being unique, novel, and not obvious to experts in the field. To date, the program’s students have been awarded six U.S. Patents and have two additional patent ideas under review.
Gandhi’s idea involves a unique way of preserving fresh produce, thus prolonging its shelf life, while minimizing both packaging and food waste.
“Reva really put a lot of thought and work into this idea, including extensive testing, and came in with not just a well-developed idea, but proof of her concept literally in hand,” said Kate Heflin, Inventor’s Lab Program Coordinator for the Da Vinci Science Center. “Her invention may lead to a healthier and more sustainable community. We are incredibly proud of the work she has done.”
Gandhi’s next role will be to work with patent lawyer James McDaniel, Esquire, who is working pro bono, to prepare and submit a U.S. Provisional Patent Application. Upon approval, Gandhi will have one year to file her application for a full U.S. Patent. The patent review and approval process can take up to two years, occasionally up to three.
The Inventor’s Lab program allows students to develop their own invention ideas while being mentored by scientists, engineers, and other industry professionals during a series of monthly Saturday morning meetings starting in September. Students explore different aspects of the invention process, learn to think of more unorthodox solutions to problems, and develop their unique invention ideas between sessions.
Beginning in fall 2019, the new Young Inventors program will offer expanded opportunities for problem solving, mentoring and skill building at both the Da Vinci Science Center and in east Allentown in partnership with Community Bike Works. The programs from both locations will feed select students into an advanced program to develop and write patent applications, with the top student receiving support for preparing and filing a provisional U.S. patent application.