By Jason Chen

Yet another year has gone by, and once again Irvine Valley College hosted the annual Astounding Inventions Contest. January 25th, 2014 marks the twenty-seventh time this event has occurred.

Every year, students in the Irvine and Tustin school districts participate in IMG_6316 Astounding Inventions by coming up with a unique idea for an invention. The invention must attempt to solve a problem that plagues society today, no matter how big or small the problem. To be eligible to compete with other students, participants must design a poster board containing the problem they are solving, materials used, scientific principle behind the invention, and research on originality. Many of the students competing also built a sample model of their invention design, to give observers and the judges a visual of their idea.
This event at Irvine Valley College is held to acknowledge the students from kindergarten to middle school who demonstrated outstanding creativity and expertise in their invention designs. Out of their entire classes, only a few people are chosen to display their poster boards and invention models at Irvine Valley College. There, only a select few inventions can move on to the next level.

IMG_6343 (1)There was no lack of creativity in this year’s set of inventions. One of the inventions included a four-in-one lawn mower, which waters, fertilizes, mows and mulches the lawn all at once. Another, called the “Auto Stop”, slows down cars speeding to a red traffic light. Some of the inventions solved basic problems, like the “Stock Piler” that fills many water balloons at the same time and the “Nerf Dart Sorter 3000”, which sorts the different types of Nerf darts. Other inventions attempted to tackle bigger problems, such as the “Wallet for the Blind” or the “Remote Controlled Suitcase”. Hundreds of more inventions were at the exhibit, and each idea had a unique solution to their problems.

The student inventions weren’t the only attraction at Irvine Valley College. Just outside, several tents and trucks displayed a variety of cool science experiments. Like last year, the Aquarium of the Pacific allowed people to touch live sea stars and other sea creatures. Another booth demonstrated 3-D printing by printing out a template and making chocolate from it. Parents and their kids were even able to fire water bottles into the air at one of the tents. The amount of science at the Astounding Inventions event was overflowing, and the hundreds of visitors that attended took it all in.

This event had been a success, and no doubt will it remain a success for years to come. But it isn’t over yet for the students who advanced to the next level. Some might even take it far enough to patent their ideas, a notion that is definitely possible. The Astounding Inventions Contest is a great way to spur the creativity of students early so that they can be ready for the challenges later in their lives.