Creating a new future

Inventors Summer Camp enables students to develop new products

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 7/21/22

If things work out as hoped, consumers will soon see a new hairbrush available for purchase. The new hairbrush would be unique in part because two Katy-area junior high school students designed it.

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Creating a new future

Inventors Summer Camp enables students to develop new products

Posted

If things work out as hoped, consumers will soon see a new hairbrush available for purchase. The new hairbrush would be unique in part because two Katy-area junior high school students designed it.

“The squeezy scalp brush is our invention,” Katherine Gao, who will be a sixth-grader at Beckendorff Junior High School, said. “We realize lots of people have dry scalp or lice and have trouble putting on serum or lotion for the treatment. So, we invented the squeezy scalp brush, and if you push the button, then the lotion or the serum comes out from the tips of the bristle and you can refill it from the refill latch.”

The refill latch is at the end of the hollow brush handle, which is where the serum or lotion goes.

Isabella Higuera is Gao’s partner on the project, will be a sixth-grader at WoodCreek Junior High. She also sings its praises.

“Our squeezy scalp brush is better than the traditional brush because it is eco-friendly,” Higuera said. “Also, most brushes of its kind, you have to actually rub the lotion into your head, but this one already comes with it.”

The girls said they planned to apply for a patent on the product. They must also make the needed manufacturing and distribution arrangements. But when the product goes to market, they said they expected the brush would sell for $14.99.

Gao, Higuera, and other students have been participating in an Inventors Summer Camp, a day camp held at the Robert Shaw Center, 1730 Katyland Dr. Stephen Adams, the center’s facility coordinator, said the camp is for junior high students where they work on invention projects. The summer camp has taken place every year since the center opened in 2015.

“What we do is, we bring junior high kids in for a summer camp and we do a lot of fun, hands-on science activities with them, but the focus of the camp is for them to work together to create an invention,” Adams said. “So, they work with a group of two or three. We guide them through the brainstorming process, the research process and then they come up with an idea, an invention, and they build a model of it. Obviously, we don’t have time to build a completely working new invention but what they do is they build a model.”

Adams said the camp has 70 students from the junior high schools across the Katy Independent School District. He said that the enrollment is always full, though they’d like to have more students. Sessions run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day over a week.

“The fun part is that they actually build the models,” Adams said. “So, the room we’re sitting in, they might paint their invention there. The reason there was a machine going back there is they’re going to be cutting wood, cutting prototypes and so it’s very important to us here to have hands-on experiences where there actually building and engaged.”

Even though the camp lasts only a week, the center is used year-round, Adams said. Robotics is a big part of that.

“The robotics teams that meet here are called FRC (first robotics competition), and FRC is a big robot,” Adams said. “It’s about 120 lbs. It requires a big field. Cinco Ranch, Morton Ranch, Tompkins, Seven Lakes, Jordan and Paetow high schools have FRC teams, so they come here and they drive the big robots.”

Adams said Katy and Taylor high schools have smaller programs, called VEX robotics programs. Because of this, Adams said those teams don’t need Shaw Center space to run their programs.

“They could run it more conveniently from their home campuses,” Adams said. “It’s not accurate to say they don’t have robotics teams. They have VEX robotics. They just don’t come here.”

The camp gives students a chance to make new friends, be creative and make their mark on the future. Gao described how she and Higuera teamed together.

“We chose to be partners when everybody else, of course, had their partners and we just ran into each other,” Gao said. “But then we realized we have a lot in common, like she’s pretty much the same age as me. And we both like the piano. That’s how we work really well together and then usually when I come up with an idea, she’ll have a suggestion and then that’s how we have a balance between the two of us.”

robotics, Robotics Shaw Center, Katy ISD, inventors summer camp

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