Naperville inventor wins national contest
By Jane Donahue For The Sun October 5, 2012 10:18AM
Zach Huebner of Naperville has won a national contest for young inventors. | Submitted
Updated: November 8, 2012 11:56AM
At age 13, Zach Huebner of Naperville may not know his career path, but he already has an impressive resume.
The eighth-grader from Granger Middle School is one of two winners in the 2012 Boy Scouts of America Innovation Challenge.
“I came home from school and my mom told me that I won,” Huebner said. “I just felt incredibly shocked and happy. I never really thought that much about inventing before this contest, if at all. That’s what is so cool about this experience.”
In partnership with Edison Nation, an “idea-to-shelf product developer,” the nation-wide challenge asked young inventors, age 7 to 21, “to solve today’s challenges with tomorrow’s products.”
From hundreds of entries from around the country, Huebner’s idea for a new school management tool that will help students take better note of assignments was selected. Because the idea does not have patent protection filed, he said he can’t speak specifically about it.
“The most that (can be) said about what it is, is that it relates to school,” said the teen. “I hope that (one day) people will even know my product exists, and will find my product useful.”
The idea was reviewed for intellectual property protection, market potential and engineering by Edison Nation’s product review experts. Edison Nation will invest up to $1 million to develop the selected idea and help bring it to market. Huebner will receive royalties for life from the sale of the products, be named the “inventor” on any issued patents, and may have an opportunity to appear on the award-winning “Everyday Edisons” television series.
“We’re really looking forward to Zach following the process of bringing his invention to market,” said his mom, Patricia. “I’m sure he will learn a lot from this. And we’re very grateful that Edison Nation and the Boy Scouts have sponsored this challenge for kids.”
Without disclosing the idea, she did say it’s a very useful product and “a lot of kids will be very happy to have it.”
“It will help with a daily struggle we have; it will be very useful at school and I hope very inexpensive,” Patricia said.
She said she would love to be more open about the product, but has to be careful due to the patent issue.
“I am looking forward to going to the store and telling everyone around I know the inventor of this product,” she said.
The Naperville boy offered simple advice for would-be inventors.
“Look for problems in your own life. Think of ways you can make life easier in these situations,” he said. “Or, make a better product than one that already exists.”
Along with Huebner, Ian Wesley from Westerville, Ohio, was selected as the other finalist for his patent-pending ShowerLine Shower Caddy, a travel-sized method to carry, store and dispense toiletries.
“We’re thrilled with the results from this search, and are looking forward to showing these young inventors that their ideas have validity and can come to fruition,” said Louis Foreman, chief executive officer of Edison Nation.