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Innovation in Everyday Life

Russell Coward
This past February, Derryfield sixth-graders Alex and Philip Moore and their triplet brother Griffin appeared on the “Kidventors” segment of Good Morning America 3:Strahan, Sara and Keke to describe the glow belts that they had invented as second graders at the Clark Wilkins Elementary School in Amherst, NH.  Their idea for the glow belts came to them shortly after the arrival of their younger brother Sam landed them in the rear seat of the family Honda Odyssey minivan, often scrambling to get the right belts for the right seats fastened quickly.

Who better to explain it all than the boys themselves?

As GMA3 hosts Keke Palmer, Sarah Haines and Michael Strahan introduced the “Kidventor” segment on February 13, and chorally said, “Please welcome Alex, Griffin and Philip,” the trio of young innovators dressed in identical pink button-down-collar, long-sleeved shirts and tan khaki slacks strolled on stage waving to the audience as if they were frequent guests.  They then sat down on a typical SUV back seat equipped, of course, with a trio of seat belts.

“What is your invention?” asked Strahan.

Philip promptly answered, “Our invention is the glow belt.  It is a seat belt that has lights on it so you can see it in a dark car.”

Griffin took the baton and added, “The idea is that when Mom or Dad turns on the car, the seat belt buckle would light up, and we can find it.  And then when we plug in the belt, [the light] turns off.”

“How did you come up with this idea?” asked Palmer.

“So when our little brother was born,” began Alex, “that left all of us to sit in the back, and with all three of us in there, it was impossible for us to find our seat belts.”

Strahan mused that it would be a great idea for airplanes, and concluded that the idea was “really brilliant.”

It had come to the boys back in 2016.  Alex and Griffin carried it into their school’s Invention Convention contest, and won.  (Philip’s absence was simply attributable to the two-person limit for school entries.)  Encouraged by the school-level results, the boys entered the New Hampshire competition, and won again.  But the Northeast Regionals limited entries to a single person, so, as their mother Amily Dunlap explained, “We said, ’Forget it.’”

They also nixed ideas about pursuing a patent for their glow belt because of the complexity and expensiveness of such a path.

Then this past January following a long lull in the action, what Ms. Dunlap described as a “random marketing email” from the program Camp Invention mentioned GMA’s interest in featuring young inventors.  Alas, another win for the glow belts.  After the journey from the local Wilkins School contest to the New Hampshire state competition then potentially to the Northeast Regionals had successively broken up the three, now in New York City, they were reunited to celebrate their invention.

Alex and Philip have followed their mother’s footsteps to Derryfield where recent curricular changes feature a sixth grade Science, Technology. Engineering and Math (STEM) program designed to support youthful innovative thinkers and inventors.  Griffin is similarly enrolled in a creative and stimulating program at The Carroll School in Lincoln, MA.

See the Moore's segment on GMA.
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