Four years ago, my son (then 11), was playing his PS/2. He was just invited to go to his friends house to game and he was frustrated.
He spent weeks customizing his ‘guy’, getting to certain levels, and unlocking certain weapons, and he couldn’t bring all of that over to his friends house without also copying the data file onto the memory card and risk over-writing the wrong file, or just losing the card, or having his friend wipe out the memory card on accident while they were playing at his house.
He wished there was a way to just have the game save custom data onto the CD media itself. However, as we all know, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs are read-only…
…so I had to invent a way for him to succeed.
As a result of his frustration, I was able to invent something useful: an optical disc with embedded flash memory so that a gamer could bring a disc anywhere and have his custom content read.
To fuel his, and my other kids, interest in science and the creative outlet inventing can bring, I added an incentive: Any frustration or ‘I wish’ they tell me that I could then use to fuel a patentable solution would receive a monetary award.
It’s a win-win situation. I get to solve real-world problems, and my kids get a glimpse at how cool and creative a technical job can be. Imagine if all kids lived with the assumption that they could participate in solving big and small problems alike, rather than just expecting others to solve problems for them?
How about you? How do you get students/kids to get excited about your technical passions?