Invention winners

Erma Siegel Elementary School students Seth Nobles, Trence Houston and Parker Robinson recently won an Industry Innovation Award in Education for their invention, “The Texture Ball.”

Three Erma Siegel Elementary School students won a national award for an invention to help autistic people.

Students Seth Nobles, Trence Houston and Parker Robinson won an Industry Innovation Award in Education for their invention, “The Texture Ball,” Science Club advisor Angela Pope said. The award was presented at the National Invention Convention in Dearborn, Mich.

About 500 kindergarten-12th grade students from around the nation competed in seven or eight categories, or industries, Pope said. Around 11 students from Erma Siegel competed in several teams.

The Texture Ball is a large, stuffed ball with sequins on one side and a soft material on another, Pope said. It opens to reveal an interior with different textures. The students made it for one of their friends, who has autism, to play with. Adults also can benefit from it, Pope said – a worker at the museum where the competition was held said he has autism and said there is nothing like the ball available to buy in the market.

The three team members each won a Google Home Hub device, Pope said.

June 10, 2019 – An inventor team of three 5th graders from Murfreesboro were recently honored for their ingenuity at the 4th Annual Invention Convention U.S. Nationals presented by United Technologies Corp. They were among more than 500 award-winning K-12 inventors from across the nation and around the world who gathered inside Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan on May 30-31 to compete for top awards in youth invention.

Parker Robinson, Seth Nobles and Trence Houston invented "The Texture Ball" and took home the Industry Innovation Award in Education.

"The texture ball was created to help anyone with sensory issues," they explain. "On the outside it has two different textures, one soft and one rough. Then you can open it up and there are several more textures on the inside. It is portable and can be made in different sizes for small or large hands. And as an added bonus, you can use the soft side as a pillow. Creates something portable for kids with sensory and anxiety issues to help calm them down. The soft material helps to sooth and the rougher textures help with excitement."

Invention Convention provides students in grades K-12 an interactive and interdisciplinary opportunity to use the invention process to create and pitch an original product at a national convention. More than 120,000 students from across 23 states and representing four countries, competed for a chance to participate in the national event this year.

“At The Henry Ford, we believe inside every child is the potential to change the world," said Patricia Mooradian, President of The Henry Ford. "The students who participate in the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals completely embody that belief and embrace their abilities to solve real-life problems. Invention and entrepreneurial learning take center stage at this event and these young people are truly inspiring with the forward-thinking, resourcefulness and ingenuity they demonstrate.”

The students earned the opportunity to advance to the invitation-only event by winning their local competition held earlier this year. Invention Convention helps to instill problem-identification, problem-solving, entrepreneurship and creativity skills for life to inspire young people to become innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs over the course of their K-12 careers.

“The Invention Convention inspires and nurtures the next generation of scientists and engineers that will build the future,” said Jason Chua, Executive Director of Advanced Projects at United Technologies. “We need more brilliant young minds like Parker, Seth and Trence to become the innovators of tomorrow and find solutions to our world’s greatest challenges.”

To learn more about the Invention Convention Worldwide locally, go to

About The Henry Ford and Invention Convention Worldwide

Through its unique museums, collections and innovation learning expertise, The Henry Ford helps individuals of all kinds to unlock their potential and help shape a better future. The Henry Ford leads the Invention Convention Worldwide community and works to make STEM + Invention + Entrepreneurship (STEMIE) learning accessible to educators and students worldwide. As part of our leadership in invention education, The Henry Ford powers events like Invention Convention U.S. Nationals, curriculum and professional development.

Recommended for you