Dublin Villager

Third-grader's invention is a top prize-winner

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Glacier Ridge Elementary School third-grader Joonho Oh took the top prize at the regional Invention Convention contest.

When Joonho Oh sees smart phones and electronic devices, he sees germs.

The Glacier Ridge Elementary School third-grader's invention that helps disinfect smart phones and electronic devices won top prize at the regional Invention Convention held at Columbus State Community College last month.

Oh beat out more than 250 other students in grades K-8 for top honors and a $2,500 scholarship.

"I found out that people get sick from their smart phones and used a UV light and conveyor belt to keep people from getting sick," Oh said.

"Phones are dirtier than a public toilet so I decided to use UV light to get rid of the germs."

Oh's invention, "Wash your iPad," was inspired by the news.

"It was on the news and on the internet," he said about the UV light that kills germs. "Hospitals use robots with UV lights to sanitize things."

To get to the regional competition, Oh got first place at the district Invention Convention competition.

At the regional contest, he set up his booth and invention, which he built from Legos before being visited by the judges.

"I liked building the prototype and programming the Mindstorm (robot)," he said.

Although he won the district Invention Convention, Oh didn't expect to walk away from regionals as the champion.

"I was competing against children in the same grade, but for first prize," he said.

The grand prize Oh won took into account all grades and inventions at the competition.

"I was surprised," he said of winning. "I didn't know I would get the big prize."

Now that Oh knows he's got a good idea on his hands, he might try to take the invention further.

"We might apply for a patent," Oh's mother, Maxine, said.

Oh pictures his invention in public places, such as by hand sanitizer in bathrooms.

"I just saw that a lot of people have devices and take them a lot of places and get a lot of germs," he said.

"You wash your hands but you don't wash your iPad."

For now, though, Oh plans to take a little break from inventing to enjoy traveling during summer vacation.

"I like to play sports," he said. "And I like math."

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