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Hamster Wheel Noise Reduction System

April 25, 2011

The end of my first academic year as a doctoral student invited many shades of crazy GNA.



It also afforded me the supreme pleasure of attending Connecticut’s Invention Convention, an annual event that brings hundreds of kids together to show-off their science and engineering prowess (so says the official commercial); I say Mad Scientist Skillz.

Hamster Wheel Noise Reduction System [April 28, 2007]

Kids are basically the coolest invention since the Great Wonkavator.

Today, instead of rushing headlong into my statistics homework I spent a couple of hours strolling around Connecticut’s Invention Convention.  The event took place in Gampel Arena, a giant domed arena on campus that typically hosts two of the best college basketball teams in the country–not so much this year (2007), UConn is “rebuilding.”

First through eighth graders came from all over the state to display their inventions and compete for nominal prizes and hella glory.  The inventors, all present at their booths, stood by prepared to explain and demonstrate their respective inventions, and answer questions from curious and bewildered onlookers.

Below are my top picks (in no particular order), some for their potential to be grand money-makers, others for their sheer brilliance, and still others for being so hysterically serious in their design and presentation they should win the Dr. Emmett Brown Nutty Inventor Award.

  • Piggy Helmet:  a hard hat with handles for an adult to wear so that their off-balanced child can hold on during piggy-back rides
  • Snowman Arm Builder:  the photos of the snow arms. Terrifying.
  • Hard Shell Taco Pocket: this should be sold to Taco Bell, seriously, it catches the taco debris
  •  Wishy Washy Dog Wash:  a large plastic tub with two arm-sized holes cut into the side.  You fill the tub with soap and water, insert your dog, close the lid, put your hands through the holes and get bit by your drowning dog. Awesome.
  •  S.O.S. (Snacks on a Stroll):  a leather belt with granola bars glued to it. Brilliantly simple.
  • The Gum Guardian:  a very handsome beaded necklace with a hollow egg-shaped charm, you can figure out the rest.  For the militant gum chewer concerned with fashion and convenience.
  • The Baby Chum Bucket:  Wow.  If you don’t know what chum is …  The poster for this invention had a picture of a shark on it.  Terrifyingly awe some.
  • Hamster Wheel Noise Reduction System:  this is my favorite for many reasons, if you know me, you can figure most of them out. I appreciate the technical name and the need (having once owned an agro hamster with a noisy wheel).

If you are at all feeling cynical about the future of the world in which we live, don’t because the kids have got it all figured out. Now if I could just figure these stats problems out …


Dorm life does in fact make you appreciate the finer things in life like erasers crazy.

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