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University of Iowa News Release


April 16, 2007

Photo: Students pose in front of their creation during a previous Invent Iowa State Convention.

ISU Hosts Invention Convention April 21, Features Innovations

Does the traditional buzzing sound of an alarm clock jolt you from your dreams and make you wake up grumpy? Then maybe you need a Wake Up 2000 vibrating pillow for a kinder, gentle awakening. Are you a farmer or hiker who needs to work with both hands after daylight has faded? Then a finger light might be just the item for you instead of a flashlight.

These are two of hundreds of inventions that will be on display during the 2007 Invent Iowa State Convention Saturday, April 21 at the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration and culminates with a recognition ceremony from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. The public is invited to view the inventions during an open house from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The convention -- the culmination of local and regional Invention Convention preliminary competitions held across Iowa throughout the past school year -- will bring together more than 300 students in grades 3-12 to demonstrate inventions that they think will make life easier for people. This year's invent will draw 356 inventors and co-inventors of 272 inventions representing cities and towns across Iowa and eastern Illinois.

The event, sponsored by the UI College of Education's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and the UI and Iowa State University Colleges of Engineering, alternates between the UI and ISU campuses each year. This is the 20th year the event has been organized.

"This is a great opportunity that stimulates creativity and innovation in students and helps them stretch their minds to invent new, useful items," said Clar Baldus, Invent Iowa state coordinator and administrator for the Inventiveness, Visual Arts and Rural Schools Programs in the Belin-Blank Center.

To reach the state convention, inventions must first qualify at local and regional conventions sponsored by the state's 15 Area Educational Associations. Students selected as meritorious winners each receive a $50 savings bond. Additionally, six entrants may win $500 scholarships from the colleges of engineering that can be applied toward tuition if the students decide to attend either ISU's or the UI's engineering schools.

Baldus said that past inventors have even been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in the Wallaces Farmer magazine and in other national media outlets, which is a "true testament to the level of creativity these students possess and the caliber of their inventions."

Invent Iowa is open to all Iowa students. Each year more than 30,000 students participate in Invent Iowa activities.

Students are encouraged to develop inventions that generally meet the requirements for a patent in the United States: they must be "new, useful and non-obvious." Students are also encouraged to keep journals chronicling their inventions' development from concept to completion.

For more information contact Clar M. Baldus, at 800-336-6463, or by e-mail at or visit

EDITOR'S NOTE: Reporters and photographers are invited to the event from 8:30 to 10 a.m. to interview the inventors and to photograph or get footage of their invention displays.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Lois J. Gray, 319-384-0077,; Program: Clar M. Baldus, Ph.D., Invent Iowa state coordinator, 800-336-6463,


STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lois J. Gray, 319-384-0077,