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What makes a toy fun or cool? Nine kids in the Washington region think they know. Their inventions are semifinalists in a toy design contest at the Kid International Discovery Museum in Bethesda , Maryland.
The winning design could wind up in stores nationwide! More than 60 young inventors entered. Sisters Elizabeth and Stephanie Vicarte of Hagerstown were surprised and thrilled that three of their projects made it into the second round.
Judges included robotics, gaming and space experts. They reviewed each entry for creativity, design and appeal to kids. The semifinalists include spider and hedgehog robots, an electronic treasure hunt game, two kinds of balls, and balloons with changeable faces. Stephanie, 12, was inspired to create a robotic plant after the real turnips and radishes she planted died when she forgot to water them.
A second sensor will test whether the temperature is too hot or cold. The sisters also are working on electronic jewelry that responds to motion and light. Their butterfly pin, for example, will flap its wings. For the second phase of the contest, each semifinalist is building a model of his or her toy.
This model, called a prototype PRO-toe-type , gives the toymaker an idea of how easy or difficult it would be to make the toy. And they got to spend three hours one-on-one with a mentor who can help them with the trickier parts of their creations, such as attaching LED lights and working motors. Oliver Foley, 12, of Hyattsville brought a clay model of his robotic pigeon to his first mentoring session.
He and his older brother were on a team that won a national robotics title in And they created a Web site, www. But for the Toy 2. He designed a 3-D game cube with moving sides and detachable game pieces. Prototypes will be shown to the public September 20, and three finalists will be named.
This fall, Innovation First International, maker of the popular Hexbug toys, will pick the winning design, which one day could come to a toy store near you. Kid Museum is at Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda. Most workshops have an added fee, which varies.
To register or get more information on other fun stuff, have an adult go to kid-museum. Share on Google Plus.