Virginia Homeschooler Finalist in Rubberband Contest

Posted on Mar 24 2010 in Homeschoolers Did It! by

Benjamin Dabney, a 12-year-old homeschooler from Radford was recently named one of the top two finalists in the Science and Engineering Category of the 2010 Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors. His invention, the “ElastiBed,” is an easy-to-use framework for mosquito netting he hopes will help prevent malaria and save lives in developing countries. Read more about the contest here.

Below is a pictorial explanation of the “ElastiBed,” followed by a press release with more details.

A hearty congratulations to Benjamin!

A PICTORIAL EXPLANATION BY THE INVENTOR

ElastiBed

My invention, the “ElastiBed,” provides a safe sleeping haven for children and infants in developing countries by protecting them from the harmful effects of mosquitoes, the primary carriers of the deadly disease malaria.

ElastiBed

When a mosquito net is draped over the cube and tucked under the edges, this invention will keep mosquitoes out so kids have a bug-free place to sleep during the night.

ElastiBed

elasti-5

The “ElastiBed” is a framework structure that consists of 12 pieces of PVC piping that fit into specially made sockets with rubber bands strung through, to make a cube. (These PVC sockets provide rigid joints and are the corners of the structure when in use.) The rubber bands are critical to this invention, keeping the cube flexible, allowing it to collapse and expand as needed.

elasti-7

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RUBBERBAND CONTEST FOR YOUNG INVENTORS ANNOUNCES RADFORD YOUTH AS A 2010 FINALIST IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

Benjamin Dabney (12 years old) from Radford, Virginia, was recently named a finalist in the 2010 Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors. His invention, the “ElastiBed,” was chosen as one of two finalists in the Science and Engineering Category of this national competition. Sponsored by the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Akron Global Polymer Academy, and the University of Akron, this competition encourages students in grades 5-8 to demonstrate their creativity and ingenuity by creating an invention that incorporates the use of rubber bands.

Using rubber bands as a key component, Benjamin’s “ElastiBed” was designed to help fight the spread of the deadly disease malaria among children and infants in developing African countries. Mosquitoes, which attack their victims at night as they sleep, are the primary carrier of malaria in those countries.

The idea for the “ElastiBed” came after Benjamin read an alarming article in Scientific American, which explained that even though a variety of organizations are sending mosquito nets to developing countries by with the intent to provide a safe sleep haven, many mosquito nets are used improperly or simply not used. Beds with high frames and posts are rarely seen among the majority of the population. Roll-up mats or low-framed beds are common. Because of this and the lack of overhead supports in the thatched roofs that dominate the region, there are no convenient locations to hang the nets. In addition, many standard mosquito nets are bulky, making their use in the relatively small homes a time-consuming and laborious task, both during set-up at night and take-down in the morning.

In essence, the “ElastiBed” is a collapsible frame structure, easily put up or taken down, that provides a framework for mosquito nets to be draped over. The contest required rubber bands to be an integral part of any inventor’s design. In this case, the rubber bands serve two purposes: ease of setup and storage, and structural size flexibility, allowing nets of various sizes to be used.

When a mosquito net is draped over the cube and tucked under the edges, Benjamin’s invention, to quote the young inventor, “Will keep mosquitoes out so kids have a bug-free place to sleep during the night.” In the morning, all that needs to be done is to take off the net, collapse the frame, and store it until it is needed again.

More information on the competition can be found on the following websites:
http://www.nmoe.org/rubberband.htm

http://rubberbandcontest.org

Additional information is also available from Gay Evans, Assistant Executive Director, National Museum of Education.
Address: 80 W. Bowery Street, Suite 305, Akron, OH 44308
E-mail: info@nmoe.org
Web: www.nmoe.org
Phone: 330-376-8300
Fax: 330-376-0566

Please feel free to contact Benjamin by email at dcdmail@hotmail.com, or by phone at 540-731-5281, if you would like to talk with him further.

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