A Special Challenge for Students in 2020...


For the 10th celebration of our contest, we are aiming to not only invent to improve technology, but invent to change the world. Thomas Edison was a humanitarian - He did not invent to make money...he made money to invent! Edison had a unique way of linking technological progress to society's well being. He once said:

“My desire is to do everything within my power to free people from

drudgery and create the largest measure of happiness and prosperity.”

- Thomas Edison

Edison propelled his philanthropy through his business whether it was bio-manufacturing a new rubber plant when there were fears that the US would run out of the natural resource, developing low cost concrete houses to address housing shortages, or allowing the free use of his fluoroscope patent(s) for medical use.

This year, we challenge our students to do the same - Be an inventor and a humanitarian! Students will choose a cause that is important to them (i.e. alternative energy, natural disaster relief, children’s hospitals, animal welfare, etc.) and invent to create a solution for this problem that they see in the world. 

Invention Categories

Once students figure out a cause that is important to them, they should find a specific problem within the category that they think they could solve by inventing! Please choose a category for your team to invent in & explore the examples to get some inspiration!

Note: Please use this list to start the conversation and inspire creativity for your own inventions, not copies of the ideas.


(Recommended for elementary teams)

  • Animal welfare & services

    • Tunnels in railroads made for turtles to safely pass through

    • Vending machine for homeless dogs

    • Health monitoring systems for farm animals

  • Wildlife conservation

    • ​Artificial intelligence to detect deforestation 
    • Safer animal-tracking systems for research
Girl with Windmill Toy


(Recommended for all levels)

  • Environmental protection and conservation

    • Lamps to grow plants in windowless spaces​

    • Shower that stops when you are wasting water

  • Alternative & clean energy

    • Solar phone charger​ built into beach umbrella (Last year's winner)

  • Recycling & sustainability 

    • A machine that converts beer bottles in sand

    • Floating pipe that attracts plastics in the ocean

Doctor Analyzing X-Rays


(Recommended for Middle & High School Teams)

  • Diseases & disorders

    • More efficient ​heart valve that runs off of renewable energy (Previous year's winner)

  • Patient and family support

    • Portable IV Backpack for children hospitals (Last year's winner"​

  • Treatment & prevention

    • Inflatable ​brace for injured athletes on the field (Previous year's winner)

  • Accessible healthcare options

    • Bubblewrap limb for amputees in 3rd world countries​

Teacher Assisting a Student


(Recommended for all levels)

  • School Programs

    • School Supply ​Vending Machines

    • Bouncy seats to keep students moving during the school day

    • Noise detector that changes color when library gets too loud

  • Special Education

    • Augmented ​​reality programs to help improve social skills in students with autis



(Recommended for all levels)

  • Improvements for your own neighborhood

    • RING Doorbell​

    • Cost effective water filtering systems for your city

    • Charging stations in parks

  • Homeless services

  • Parenting & Youth Services

    • Danger sensing car seat (Last year's winner)​

    • Bracelet to detect danger & kidnapping (Last year's winner)


Copyright © 2017 Edison Innovation Foundation. All rights reserved.

1037 Raymond Blvd, Suite 340 
Newark, New Jersey 07102 

Phone: 973-648-0500
Email: thomasedisonpitchcontest@gmail.com

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