South Side School student's invention to a national convention

Published on Tuesday, 3 May 2022 15:38
Written by Dean Wright


BRISTOL – As some yard enthusiasts struggle in the never-ending quest to deter squirrels from eating their bird seed, a South Side School student’s invention specializing in theft prevention is headed to a national convention.

Fourth grader Elijah Simmons, 9, represented his school at the Invention Convention Connecticut State Finals and has been named a finalist at the Invention Convention U.S. Finals in Dearborn, Michigan. The event is slated to be held at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation June 1 through 3. 

“It is intense,” said Simmons. “I am hopeful and excited to represent my school, hometown and Connecticut.”

The finalist said when he and his family set out to solve the seed theft issue; they wanted to make certain they could do so through easily obtained household materials.

“I feel very confident in my invention and its future,” said Simmons. “It is a solid product. It has the potential to save bird lovers money and time so they can enjoy watching the birds without being frustrated by the squirrels. My parents are amazed at how well it works.”

Simmons originally participated in a local invention event at his school then went onto the state level before being selected to represent Connecticut at the national level.

Simmons’ invention, the Squirrel Spinner, was created to prevent squirrels from accessing bird seed in a bird feeder that hangs from a pole’s hook.

In creating the product, Simmons first brainstormed with his mother focusing on an invention idea that touched upon three subject areas and problems connected in those subjects, home, school and community. The competitor eventually settled on how to prevent squirrels from eating all of the bird seed in a bird feeder at home.

“We searched many websites,” he said. “We never found a squirrel baffle that spun. Then I knew my idea was going to be a plain original. Me and my dad went around our house looking for materials.”

The Squirrel Spinner utilizes resources designed to make it harder for a squirrel to climb a baffle placed around a bird feeder pole. The baffle spins once a squirrel jumps on it due to a ball bearing structure. Because ball bearings reduce rotational friction, the squirrel then spins uncomfortably until it jumps or falls off a few feet above the ground.

Tested over six days in strong winds and a snow storm, the device remained on the bird feeder pole.

After gauging the amount of bird seed left in the feeder over a length of time, the inventor said its use had provided around a 97% cost savings in seed.

Simmons has a logo to go with his project and already has orders from potential buyers for his product.

When asked what he would like to further invent after his work with the Squirrel Spinner is done, he said, “I would create an invention that would solve the problem of students writing on the bathroom stalls at school, something that would prevent Legos from going under furniture like couches and beds, or something that would prevent siblings from entering bedrooms (bedrooms without locks) unless invited.”

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Tuesday, 3 May 2022 15:38. Updated: Tuesday, 3 May 2022 15:41.