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Lilly Johnson's Invention Earns Her a Trip to State - from The Messenger

April 29, 2019

Lilly with her electrodapter

Lilly Johnson's experience at the State Invent Iowa convention left her feeling optimistic about what kids can accomplish.

"I learned that if you have good ideas, just because you're a kid, doesn't mean you can't make it happen," Johnson, a 12-year-old seventh-grader, said.

Johnson was chosen to participate in the convention after she came up with the electrodapter.

The electrodapter is designed to charge one cell phone using the energy from another cell phone.

She thought of the idea one day at Fort Dodge Middle School when her phone was on the blink.

"My phone was dying, but my friend's phone was at 100 percent," Johnson said. "I remembered that I could charge my phone by plugging it into a computer, so why not create something that uses two phones."

So she started the project by doing research.

The project was not required. It was an optional activity through the school's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Academy.

Eventually, she created a prototype for her product and a display board with pictures and facts.

Coming up with a name for the invention was the hardest part, she said.

"It took me forever to figure out what to call it," Johnson said.

To help her decide, she wrote down key words that had to do with charging a phone. She eventually combined the words "electricity" and "adapter" to form electrodapter.

When she was chosen to attend the convention, she couldn't believe it.

"It was really exciting," Johnson said. "I was like, 'What? No way.'"

Johnson was among the 80 students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade that were invited.

At the convention, Johnson presented her idea to other students and a panel of judges.

Getting the opportunity to see what other students came up with was a highlight.

"They let us go around the whole place and there were some really cool ones," she said.

One student earned first place for a noise detector.

"It was green if it was quiet," she said. "If there was some noise it would turn yellow. And if it was really loud, the lights turned red."

There was also a tool on display that was designed to shuck corn really fast, she said.

Another eye-catcher was a "lit kit" that allowed people to easily see what's inside of a purse.

"It was really awesome to see all the ideas people had," Johnson said.

Johnson earned a certificate, medal, and a backpack for her work.

"It was really fun," she said.

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