This month’s Invention Convention was a whirlwind of innovation, inspiration, and excitement in inventing. We are always thrilled by the unique and uplifting stories that come from the convention, but Justin Strandell, a 4th grader from World Academy in Nashua, NH, particularly stuck out this year. We received a letter from Keith Strandell, Justin’s father, on how moved he was by Justin’s drive, confidence, and spirit throughout the Invention Convention. After speaking with Keith and meeting Justin, we are excited to share Justin’s story.
As a 4th grader at his school, Justin is encouraged to participate in the Invention Convention, with the help of the Young Inventors Program. Justin, originally terrified by the prospect of such a heavy task, sat down and thought of all the common issues he has to deal with, leading to him inventing PAGE: Personal Automated Gate Examiner.
Justin was inspired to create PAGE to help his grandfather, who sometimes left the gate open at home, letting the dogs escape. Justin had the great idea of sending grandpa a text or e-mail to his phone to let him know about the gate being open. He then used YouTube videos, Lego Mindstorms, and Microsoft technology to build a prototype. When Justin found out he’d be passing through the state level at this year’s Invention Convention, Keith, his father, mentioned, “he beamed from ear to ear.”
We invited Justin to our Technology Center in Cambridge, where he could showcase his invention. He has used products like Excel, Xbox, and Word on a daily basis, as well as to assist building his invention — he just hadn’t made the connection to real-life applications until now. We were pumped to show him that the technology he has been using is the same that full-scale inventors use on a daily basis.
After his visit, Justin wrote us this letter, so proud of his achievement:
I am glad I go to do the Invention Convention, because I got to learn that even if you get stressed in the beginning I can still succeed in the end. I am really proud of myself for making it to the Young Inventors Program. Also, it was an honor to win the first Microsoft Technology Award given there. I thought it was wonderful to hear such nice remarks for an invention I just made for my grandpa. I had a really good time trying to solve my grandpa’s problem because it is a serious problem. Thank you for picking me for one of your awards.”
For more information on the MTC, click here.