KC teenager moves on to global invention contest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kelly Ann Greene went to bed after hugging her mom thinking she had lost a national teenage invention contest.

The next day, Greene received a big surprise in his inbox.

“I was like, ‘What?’ So excited,” the 17-year-old recalled.

It turns out that his “baby saver” invention won the market potential award – which was announced at the end of a virtual awards ceremony – at the national Invention Convention competition organized by The Henry Ford, which earned Greene a spot in the global competition next month.

“Knowing that other people see potential in this has been so rewarding for me because while I was working on this it was only my dad and mom that were cheering me on,” Greene said.

She also received support from the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri. The independent research library surrounded by the University of Missouri – Kansas City, but not affiliated with the school, specializes in science, engineering, and technology. It’s open to the public.

This year, the library hosted the KC Invention Convention, a regional qualifier where Greene and others received mentorship and guidance in hopes of reaching the national competition.

“The Linda Hall Library was simply the most supportive and welcoming program to help me move forward and I’m so grateful they were able to help me with this,” Greene said.

Library president Lisa Browar added that support programs like the Invention Convention are important in building interest in science and confidence in young students.

“[Some] students may have a great idea, but they need help, they need reinforcement, positive reinforcement, they need someone to help nurture it, a mentor, parenthood is important, and I think it’s a great confidence builder for students,” Browar mentioned.

The “baby saver” is a device designed by Greene to attach to a car seat. It will detect when the temperature will rise, then use GPS and cellular technology to alert parents and 911 that a baby has been left in a hot car.

Greene wants the device to also one day detect a baby’s pulse and blood oxygen level to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Heatstroke kills approximately 40 children each year in the United States.

Greene said she got the idea from a freshman biology assignment at St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City, Missouri, where she graduated in May.

Greene will attend the University of California, Santa Cruz in the fall. She’ll find out how the “baby saver” fared globally at an awards ceremony on August 20.

This time, she promises to watch the entire livestream.