Celebrating Little Inventors blasting off into Space!

‘Two winning inventors announced from space by Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques in a live connection from the International Space Station, and the big reveal of 30 new inventions brought to life… Truly out of this world!’

Little Inventors started life in Sunderland in 2016 as Inventors! led by Sunderland born designer and inventor Dominic Wilcox after being commissioned by Creative People & Places project Cultural Spring. Dominic worked with local school children to stretch their imaginations and draw invention ideas with no limits. The best ideas were selected to be brought to life by professional makers and designers, showing that children’s ideas are worth taking seriously, and it led to the creation of worldwide project, Little Inventors. Now they have inventions blasting off into space with Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques and the International Space Station!

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) wants to make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators and foster a spirit of scientific exploration for all. NSERC approached Little Inventors in 2017 to help turn the next generation into the superstar inventors of the future.They teamed up with Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques to launch the Little Inventors: Inventions for Space Challenge. Yesterday, the CSA held a live link with David Saint-Jacques, who was 28,000 kilometers above Earth on the International Space Station to announce the winning invention ideas. What is the Inventions for Space Challenge? It enabled students to explore the life of astronauts in the International Space Station; such as eating, sleeping or exercising in microgravity. They were then tasked with creating imaginative solutions and inventions to make living in space better or just more fun.

This extraordinary partnership confirms the commitment of NSERC and CSA to inspire Canadian youth, by using a highly engaging programme that aligns creativity with

STEM and opens up scientific exploration to all. This National programme has also created international interest.
Out of this world competition! The challenge, which launched in November 2017, reached 83,000 children across Canada, and close to 3,000 thought-provoking, insightful and sometimes truly bonkers invention ideas were submitted from children aged 6-16.

From there, 250 ideas were shortlisted – an incredible tribute to the children’s imagination and ingenuity. Thirty invention ideas were brought to life by makers, designers, artists and engineers across Canada, from the UK and even Ukraine.

A showcase of the most ingenious inventions is on display this week at the CanadaWide Science Fair in Fredericton, New Brunswick May 15 to 17, 2019, before going on display across Canada.

Meet the winners! Connor, 12 from Acton, Ontario, Canada invented the Space Imprint Shoes – so that ‘astronauts see their bespoke footprint implanted on the moon’ – this feels particularly relevant as we get ready to celebrate 50 years since the first moon landing, and plans to see humans return to the moon in 2020 in the Gateway space station. It was made by 3d footwear engineer Chris Bellamy from Vancouver. Who knows, maybe Connor will someday add his own personal footprint on the moon?

Amy, 13 from Beaumont, Alberta, Canada, dreamt up the Personnel Canadarm – a mini bathroom version that holds all personal hygiene for astronauts in the ISS – a great way to pay homage to the amazing technology of the Canadarm while bringing it to a more daily scale. It shows a real understanding of the challenges of living in space, and bringing a little humour to brighten up David’s day.

This is what David Saint-Jacques had to say during the live connection from space on Wednesday May 15th: “Congratulations to Connor and Amy as well as all Little Inventors participants! Our future is in the head of young people like you. The things you dream up could be our future reality. So keep dreaming!”

Special mention goes to Rachel, 11 from Calgary, whose imagination sparked the Fuzzy PJ Fun Dress Up Spacesuit, which was brought to life in spectacular fashion by glass blowing artist Robin Ritter. Think of it as a dinosaur onesie for space exploration made of glass! We love the mini David Saint-Jacques plush toy!

The UK makers who took part include North East artists Chloe Rodham from Blagdon, Northumberland, who made the ingenious Band 101 https://www.littleinventors.org/ideas/the-band-101/details; Kate Eccles from Cullercoats, North Tyneside, who made the fun Sticky Bunnies https://www.littleinventors.org/ideas/sticky-bunnys/details, and Little Inventors Chief Inventor,Sunderland-born Dominic Wilcox, who made the Dome Plate https://www.littleinventors.org/ideas/the-dome-plate/details and the Moon-Coaster https://www.littleinventors.org/ideas/the-moon-coaster/details.

All of the finished invention models and details can be seen at nserc.littleinventors.org

About Little Inventors – Little Inventors is a UK education organisation which started in Sunderland. It inspires creativity and imagination by taking children’s amazing ideas seriously, giving children across the world the opportunity to stretch and develop their creativity and problem-solving skills, build confidence, curiosity and resilience and to be caring citizens of the planet.

Our Magnificent Makers are professional makers, designers and artists all over the world, lending their expertise and skills to bring children’s imagination to life.

About NSERC – The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. By promoting and supporting discovery research, and fostering innovation – building on Canada’s long tradition of scientific excellence.

About the Canadian Space Agency The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is responsible for advancing the knowledge of space through science and using its discoveries for the good of Canadians and all of humanity. During David Saint-Jacques’ space mission, the CSA is engaging with Canadians and youth through events and activities to spark their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

For further details please contact Katherine Mengardon, tel: 07718 054 087 katherine@littleinventors.org Dominic Wilcox, tel: 07773 448 057 dominic@littleinventors.org