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Interview: Kids Invent Stuff

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

The team of Ruth Amos and Shawn Brown might be able to help these kids, though, with Kids Invent Stuff.

Kids Invent Stuff in a YouTube channel which brings to life kids’ invention ideas, created to inspire primary aged children around engineering and STEM,” they tell us. “Young people are encouraged to submit their own ideas for inventions to solve novel and entertaining technical challenges. The most creative and entertaining inventions are then showcased as part of Kids Invent Stuff YouTube episodes. The chosen idea is then built and demonstrated on film, with often hilarious consequences; we’ve built furry electric dog cars, popcorn firing doorbells, and alarm clocks that wake you up by dropping pool balls on your head. These have all been inventions designed by children that we have brought to life.”

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 The tea train will arrive, whatever type of snow is on the line

Ruth is a self-taught engineer and inventor. In 2006 she was Young Engineer for Britain with her GCSE product ‘The StairSteady’, which is now sold internationally. She is a keen welder and maker and co-founded #GirlsWithDrills with Kisha Bradley.

Shawn Brown is an engineer, artist and designer. As a multidisciplinary engineer and artist he has worked on a myriad of projects; from building custom electric vehicles, to bringing to life the 12m tall ‘Man Engine’ – the UK’s largest mechanical puppet. Shawn has both a master’s degree in Energy Engineering and a master’s in Fine Art.

How has Raspberry Pi helped some of your builds?

We have used Raspberry Pi in a number of builds. We worked with Estefannie, from Estefannie Explains It All, to hack our rainbow unicorn that poops jellybeans (invented by eight-year-old Tru) to be able to poop jellybeans when someone tweeted it.

This year, we built nine-year-old Nathan’s foam-firing spy camera, which was built around a Raspberry Pi. You can see it in action here.

What has the response been to your videos?

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People seem to love seeing kids’ invention ideas come to life and we’ve had some fantastic comments from parents and teachers saying that their children and students have been inspired by the channel; in fact, over 95% of those submitting ideas have said that our channel and challenge had helped improved their child’s understanding of engineering.

 It’s a whole new world out in the harbour on a floating rug

The project was set up because research showed that it was really important to inspire and keep engaged young people, particularly girls, into STEM while still at primary school. Kids make amazing problem solvers and we wanted to showcase and celebrate that on the channel.

What are your three favourite builds you’ve done?

It’s so hard to choose, they have all been so much fun. So we’ve chosen ones that people watching our channel love (not including any of the ones already linked above): the Popcorn-Firing Doorbell, a Giant Rube Goldberg Machine made out of 60 kids’ invention ideas, and Zander’s Robot Shopping Trolley

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