Raynaud’s Inspires Winning Entry in National Competition

Sixth grader Mackenzie Conkling didn’t need to look too far to find inspiration for her winning entry in the 2011 Bubble Wrap® Competition for Young Inventors.  The solution was right at hand.

At her mother’s hands, to be precise.  The 13-year old honor student from Massapequa, Long Island, created the “Uber Bubble Glove” – a glove to warm the hands of people affected by Raynaud’s Disease.  “When I was thinking of an idea for the contest, my mom walked in the house from work,” she explained.  “Her fingers were purple and blue and she kept complaining about how cold they were even though she was wearing a pair of gloves.  My mom suffers from Raynaud’s Disease.”

Thus inspired, Mackenzie produced a prototype of the Uber Bubble Glove, a product insulated by two layers of Bubble Wrap® material covered by a fleece glove.  Bubble Wrap® — the brand with the “pop” appeal — is “made of many pockets of air, which prevents the air surrounding and inside my glove from convecting because it is trapped in the bubbles,” Mackenzie wrote in her contest entry.  “Reducing the amount of heat that can be transferred to and from the glove, insulates it, keeping the wearer’s hand warm.” 

The Uber Bubble Glove garnered Mackenzie third place in the Young Inventors Competition, sponsored by Sealed Air Corporation, manufacturer of Bubble Wrap® brand cushioning.  Her prize, announced at a special awards ceremony in New York City on May 21, was a $3,000 U.S..savings bond and a three-day trip to New York City.   Mackenzie, a triplet, was joined at the celebration by her sisters, brother, dad John and mom Karen.  Karen, whose plight inspired the glove, suffers from primary Raynaud’s – first learning about Raynaud’s from co-workers who recognized the condition by the pain and color changes in her fingers.

Mackenzie and several classmates at the Birch Lane Elementary School in Massapequa entered the Young Inventors contest at the behest of science teacher Brian Mulcahy.  Emily Fasano, also a student of Mr. Mulcahy’s, was one of the 10 semi-finalists, winning a spot for her “Slipper/Sock Inserts” – created for people who sleepwalk and wander. Mr. Mulcahy was one of three teachers/mentors to receive a $500 gift card.

Sealed Air Corporation sponsored the competition to encourage students in grades six through eight to demonstrate their creativity in turning the packaging material into “something new and exciting outside of its intended use,” said William V. Hickey, company President and CEO.

This year’s competition attracted entries from all across the United States.  Each of the semi-finalists was required to build and deliver full-scale working versions of their invention to be reviewed by a panel of judges.  The 10 semi-finalists received over $25,000 in prizes and savings bonds.

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Note from editor:  Are there other budding inventors in our midst?
We’d love to hear about the creative ways you’ve discovered to deal with Raynaud’s.  Contact us at info@raynauds.org.