When 13-year-old Cole Tucker was trying to come up with an entry for the 2013 Invention Convention, a light bulb went off.
In fact, no traditional light bulbs were in the town Cole had imagined. Instead, the entire town was lighted with fiber optics.
The idea and the model town he built to showcase his idea won first place in the seventh- and eighth-grade category and won the prestigious Chairman's Choice Award at the 18th annual Central Ohio Invention Convention, held in May at Columbus State Community College.
Each award earned Cole a $500 college scholarship. He also won a special award from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.
Cole said he was thinking about the traditional municipal power grid and how inefficient and expensive it is to light a town or city.
Fiber optics, he believes, would be a better choice. He designed and built a model town with eight fiber-optic streetlights for his project, which he called "Light Everywhere & There!"
During the convention, he met a man who had informed him that the U.S. Army is exploring the idea of fiber-optic lighting at some of its bases.
Cole, who will be in the eighth grade at Kilbourne Middle School, has entered the Invention Convention for four years. This was his second first-place finish.
He is the son of Worthington residents Glenn and Lynn Tucker.
Students in grades 2-8 in central Ohio are eligible for the Invention Convention, which encourages children to create inventions to solve everyday problems.
The grand-prize award is a $2,500 college scholarship, with $500 scholarships going to grade-level winners.
The Invention Convention is organized by central Ohio nonprofit Just Think Inc. For more information, go online to just-think-inc.com.