By Jason Chen

On January 26th, hundreds of students gathered at Irvine Valley College to compete in the Astounding Inventions contest. 2013 marks the 26th time that this event was held, exhibiting the wild success that this competition has brought so far.

The Astounding Inventions competition is a fair for Irvine and Tustin students to display their innovative ideas for new inventions. Established to promote an interest for math and science, the contest focuses on solving world or daily problems through unique creations. Students are encouraged to think creatively as well as critically to come up with their own solutions to these problems.

A variety of grade levels can participate in this contest, ranging from as early as kindergarten to as late as 8th grade. Participants have to come up with an invention that serves a practical purpose and helps people accomplish certain tasks. Every student had to complete a packet containing such information as their thought processes, illustrations, inventor’s log, and much more. In addition, posterboards were used to detail their invention’s name, the problem that needed to be solved, how the invention worked, how it was made, and the research done to check for originality. Every invention had a prototype model for people to examine, many of them built from simple household materials. Over 100 inventions were displayed at the Astounding Inventions competition, each of them a result of creative thinking and hard work.

The types of inventions shown at Irvine Valley College covered a variety of areas, from biological to economic to daily complications experienced today. Examples of some cool and imaginative inventions include “Password 3A04”, a device that remembers all passwords, “iPack”, a backpack controlled by an iPhone app, and “Mop Flops”, slippers that clean the floor while walking. Some inventions attempted to make life easier inside a house, such as the “Trap Door Pot”, a creation that allows cooks to empty food from the bottom of the pot rather than pouring it out from the side. Other inventions were designed to help the disabled – “The Blind Eye” is a cane that helps the visually impaired with moving around. Several inventions reached even farther to solve worldwide problems, like the “Biowaste Reaction Chamber”, which attempted to solve our fuel problem by converting objects into biofuel. These inventions, and many more, reveal the power of creativity in a student’s mind.

The inventions weren’t the only showcase at Irvine Valley College – a plethora of demonstrations and exhibits were set up right outside the gymnasium. Mathobotix, a robotics class located across the street from IVC, set up a booth filled with tons of cool robots to examine. The California State University of Long Beach was present as well, showing the various applications of science through experiments. Even the Aquarium of the Pacific showed up and allowed kids to view live sea stars, swell sharks, and other aquatic animals. Several other exhibits, including Raytheon and Mad Science, were at the event, each having their unique and interesting things to present.

Each of the participants had worked hard to get their inventions into this exciting contest. However, their innovations don’t have to stop at this competition. Some students had been able to take their inventions to the next level, and a few even secured patents for their idea. Participating in this event is a great way to open up the creative side of the mind and run wild with imagination.