Allie - I Really Don't Want to See That!

The Blow Dart Spirometer innovation that I entered into the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge probably required the most research out of all of the past inventions and innovations I have ever made. This was a challenge for me, for two reasons:

For one, I was afraid of what would pop up while researching. I get a little squeamish around blood or guts or most anything medical related (which is ironic because this is actually my second medical related invention). Although this was a problem, it also motivated me to keep researching because I know there are some kids in the hospital who have the same problem (being grossed out by hospitals and stuff) that need something to take their minds off of it, or make it better. I hope my innovation will help.

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(Medical equipment makes me feel a little squeamish.)

Second, while there is a ton of information on spirometry out there on the internet. As It turns out though top companies don’t share the inner workings of their spirometers out where other companies can see. What is inside is often held a secret. While I was able to ask some awesome therapists who are trained on how to use a spirometer about how tests are administered, they were also not able to answer my questions of how it works, or how it’s made. This made it a little harder to research my topic, but I was able to gather enough information to keep going.

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(Children's respiratory therapists told me how to test and what was measured, but not why or how it worked.)

You can, however, solve a problem with no research, if your idea is simple enough, but I wouldn’t suggest it. Lots of things could go wrong. You could not have enough knowledge to actually solve your problem, you might not know how to solve it correctly, or even come up with something that someone has already made. Don’t let this last one be a stopping point for you. If someone else has done it, do it in a new way, make it better, find the flaws in their designs and redesign it your way. Researching to building upon what others have done only makes your product better. I suggest doing at least a little research before jumping into a project to avoid some of this.

Research can also have an important role on coming up with the correct and working solution to your problem. At the start of my Blow Dart Spirometer project way back in January, I created a 3D design of what I wanted to build based off of very little research. After I did much more research, I realized how inaccurate and bad my first design was. It was terrible! It didn’t accomplish at all what I assumed it did.

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(Don’t spend hours on a design that won’t work. Do your research first!)

The more information you know about your problem and who you are making your product for, the easier it is to know exactly how to solve it, and you can back that up with your resources. Then you can create a great innovation/invention that works great (even if not on the first try).

-Allie