Have you heard of the De-Waster 5000? Chances are probably not, unless you attended the Global Childrens’ Designathon. It isn’t actually a real product, but there is one clever prototype that exists, and it was created by a 10-year old. The De-Waster 5000 is an invention made to help the environment in a pretty awesome way. It picks up plastic debris from the oceans and landfills, and melts the trash with a flamethrower to be molded into beds for the homeless.
The Global Childrens’ Designathon took place November 15 in five cities around the world: Dublin, Nairobi, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Rio de Janerio. The event encourages children to spend the day using their creative minds to come up with solutions to improve the world around them regarding issues of food, waste, and mobility.
Emer Beamer is the founder of Unexpect. This Dutch agency teaches design concepts to kids with the goal of leading and inspiring them to tackle global challenges. She explained the thought process behind the creation of the event:
“Often schools are teaching kids things they might never need to know again, and we’re not teaching them how to be creative, or design, or how to hack new technologies or deal with unexpected situations. A lot of people are aware that we really need to change education, but they don’t know how. This is one method that could inspire people. It’s basically design thinking, adapted for children.”
Kid inventors can come up with some outrageous and out-of-the box solutions for the problems of today, as evidenced by the idea behind the De-Waster 5000. Even though some of these inventions are not feasible, they offer new insight and creative ideas that adults probably wouldn’t think of. It can be difficult for adults to come up with a new solution after years of facing the same problems. That’s where these kids come in handy.
Not all of the suggestions are so crazy and out there. Some of them are actually practical and could come to life with the help of professional entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers. Take, for example, the young minds in Amsterdam who suggested the idea of a robot trashcan that could sort out recyclable materials and send an alert to a garbage truck when it is full so it can be picked up.
Although these fanciful suggestions from young minds and creative thinkers might never become a reality, the real important aspect of the Designathon is introducing the youth to innovative concepts. They will learn how to use their problem solving skills in their daily life to tackle issues in the real world and come up with creative solutions. The minds of the kid inventors will grow, and we might even see some tangible new products and services being developed when they enter adulthood.