LC: â€œWe were talking in the car going to a basketball game, and most of our ideas were kind of silly.
PS: â€œThereâ€™s no idea thatâ€™s silly okay? Todayâ€™s gonna be all about silly, itâ€™s about making ideas come to life. I think sillyâ€™s a great thing!
Well, if necessity is the mother of invention, then silly ideas just might be the offbeat uncle. Iâ€™m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Fifth-grader Lindsay Carnes came up with some out-of-the-box ideas for skateboards, and she submitted them to the Kidsâ€™ Science Challenge, our nationwide competition for 3rd to 6th graders. Skateboard engineers Paul Schmitt and Michael Bream met with Lindsay to test a few of her concepts, one of which involved replacing a skateboardâ€™s wheels with balls of various sizes.
PS: â€œYou got this idea of marbles here, so I got this bag of marbles right hereâ€
[sfx: marbles dropping on table and rolling around]
PS: â€œNow how are you going to control that?
LC: â€œYou canâ€™t.â€
PS: â€œYeah, you really canâ€™t, can you. Itâ€™s a pretty hard one to control. Now look, they keep on moving, what force is that doing that?â€
PS: â€œYeah. So that one, I donâ€™t think weâ€™re going to make the marble idea work, because we just canâ€™t seem to control those things, theyâ€™ve got a mind of their own, huh.â€
PS: â€œYou know, I really like this idea, you talk about different balls, you talk about 2 or 3 big balls?â€
PS: â€œAnd in here you talk about the Dyson vacuum cleaner. Weâ€™re going to explore that idea and see what we can do to make it work.â€
Lindsayâ€™s inspiration came from watching a Dyson vacuum commercial which extolled the maneuverability of a turning ball. Dysonâ€™s engineers actually sent our team some parts, and then they were ready to give the idea a try.
PS: What does this Dyson ball skateboard want to be like?
LC: Have three points, maybe?
PS: Yeah, three points is a good idea. So maybe we put the skateboard trucks do you think the ball should be in the front or in the back?
LC: The front?
To see how Lindsayâ€™s board turned out, check out kidsciencechallenge.com.
Pulse of the Planetâ€™s Kidsâ€™ Science Challenge is made possible by the National Science Foundation.