National convention

The Bristol Press – A South Side School student’s invention at a national convention

BRISTOL — As some gardening enthusiasts struggle in the never-ending quest to deter squirrels from eating their birdseed, a South Side School student’s invention specializing in theft prevention is heading to a national convention .

Fourth-grade student Elijah Simmons, 9, represented his school at the Connecticut State Finals of the Invention Convention and was named a finalist at the American Finals of the Invention Convention in Dearborn , Michigan. The event is scheduled to be held at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation from June 1-3.

“It’s intense,” Simmons said. “I am hopeful and excited to represent my school, my hometown and Connecticut.”

The finalist said when he and his family set out to solve the problem of seed theft; they wanted to make sure they could do it through easily obtainable household materials.

“I’m very confident in my invention and its future,” Simmons said. “It’s a solid product. It has the potential to save bird lovers money and time so they can enjoy bird watching without being frustrated by squirrels. My parents are amazed at how well it works.

Simmons first competed in a local invention event at his school, then went statewide before being selected to represent Connecticut nationally.

Simmons’ invention, the Squirrel Spinner, was created to prevent squirrels from accessing bird seed in a bird feeder suspended from a pole hook.

When creating the product, Simmons first brainstormed an invention idea with his mother that touched on three areas and issues related to these topics, namely home, school, and community. The contestant finally decided how to stop squirrels from eating all the bird seed in a bird feeder at home.

“We searched many websites,” he said. “We never found a spinning squirrel baffle. So I knew my idea was going to be a simple original. My dad and I went around our house looking for materials.

The Squirrel Spinner uses resources designed to make it harder for a squirrel to climb up a baffle placed around a bird feeder post. The deflector rotates once a squirrel jumps on it thanks to a ball bearing structure. Because the ball bearings reduce rotational friction, the squirrel then spins uncomfortably until it jumps or falls a few feet above the ground.

Tested for six days in high winds and a snowstorm, the device remained on the bird feeder post.

After evaluating the amount of birdseed left in the feeder over a period of time, the inventor said that using it saved about 97% on seed.

Simmons has a logo to go with his project and already has orders from potential buyers for his product.

When asked what he would like to invent more once his work with the Squirrel Spinner is complete, he replied, “I would create an invention that would solve the problem of students writing on school toilets, something that would prevent Legos from going under furniture like sofas and beds, or something that would prevent siblings from entering bedrooms (rooms without locks) unless invited.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 3:38 PM. Updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2022 3:41 PM.