Mateo Torres, a 10-year-old student from Watsonville, CA won the Smart Audio, Cool Cars Award, presented by HARMAN, for his invention “Hearing Buddy” at the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE). Torres was among 437 student inventors from twenty states and two countries.
The 3rd Annual National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE) was produced by The STEMIE Coalition, a non-profit founded to elevate K-12 STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Math) education alongside invention and entrepreneurship to a national level.
“Hearing Buddy is an invention developed to help children who are hearing disabled feel confident when it comes to wearing their hearing aid, “explains Torres. “ Many children who have disabilities are bullied and don’t like to use or wear their learning aids because they make them stand out from others. The invention camouflages the hearing aid to make it look more like a fun accessory (an animal riding on your ear). The hearing buddy comes in sets, so hearing impaired children as well as their friends can wear them. This makes wearing the hearing aid fun and provides a way for kids to build a support system of others who will also wear something on their ear in support of them. They feel less different and know that their allies are willing to support them.”
The National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo was held at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn Michigan on June 1, 2018. Over 108,000 K-12 student inventors competed from across the United States, Mexico and Canada in local competitions earlier this year.
Danny Briere, CEO of The STEMIE Coalition, the nonprofit organizer of NICEE said, “K-12 invention education is tapping into students’ innate desires and abilities to identify problems and create meaningful solutions.”
“Encouraging young innovators like Mateo is the pathway to America’s future, and the future of our workforce,” noted presenting sponsor United Technologies Corporation’s Mary Lombardo, Vice President of Global Engineering for UTC Climate, Controls & Security. “The students at NICEE never fail to inspire and amaze us.”
“Veronica Lynagh, Executive Vice President of The STEMIE Coalition noted, “We increased our participation this year in the national convention from 17 to 20 states, and from 292 to 437 student inventors. We also had six visiting countries interested in learning how to bring STEMIE’s Invention Convention program to their countries to further the innovation movement in schools.”
For more information on the STEMIE Coalition, a full list of this year’s award winners, and how students and educators can get involved, visit www.stemie.org.