What if you had a house on wheels and when you wanted to move, you could just hook it to a car and take off - garden and all?
Christina Colvin and Cassie Turner, students at Wasatch Elementary School, think it would be a great idea, and Thursday they got encouragement from a real-life inventor, who told them, "Whatever you want to do, you can do it."The advice came from Douglas Stout of the Brigham Young University department of design, one of nine inventors who visited Wasatch to encourage some inventive thought in students.
Next month, the children will act on their ideas for an "Invention Convention," part of a national school program to prompt children to use their creativity.
Stout brought along a device that met the standards set by the banner in the school's hallway, which proclaimed "Live, in person, interesting, innovative, ingenious, incredible inventors."
His racing wheelchair, designed for handicapped athletes, may well show up in future marathons. "There'd have to be some rules changed first," he said, but a group of engrossed youngsters was really convinced by his comments that anything CAN happen.
When he called for volunteers to take the wheelchair for a spin, he had more takers than he could accommodate. But Rebecca Bammes, Joseph Kamerath and Anna Manuscynska represented their class in taking short spins around the gym in the contraption, which is propelled by arm-power.
Another class was fascinated by Mike Cosman's cosmograph, a writing tool that whipped out intriguing designs on its own, once its pendulum-type rig was set in motion.
"It's just a toy," Cosman told the children, "but toys are what make our society work." Cosman, when he isn't entertaining and motivating school children, is employed by Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp.
"Even kids can invent useful things," Russell Ayres of Invention Submission Corp. told the youngsters. He outlined the usefulness of having someone to help market an invention. Only 1 percent of the possible products are marketed through an individual's efforts, he said.
George Hansen of Vapor Fab Inc., got right down on the floor and used a simple piece of paper to "invent" a megaphone to show the children how a little imagination can do wonders.
He pointed to Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, as an example of how inventions happen. Bell didn't create a telephone because he could envision the mass communications of today, but because his mother was deaf and he could see an immediate use for his work, Hansen said.
"Bell wasn't a genius. He needed something. Needing something is the first requirement for inventing."
And if you really NEEDED a house on wheels . . . who knows?