Miami County invention maker likes to solve problems

Jianna Nichols likes to solve people’s problems.

It’s been a busy summer for the soon to be Tippecanoe High School sophomore with announcements of her projects’ receiving awards in the Invention Convention program’s state and national competitions.

In June, Nichols was recognized as third-place winner in her grade category at the 5th annual Invention Convention Nationals in Dearborn, Mich. The awards for the 2019 national finals were presented in a virtual format July 2.

The award -winning project was The Smart Hair Accessories, a headband that is adjustable and a hidden compartment that can be turned into a stretchable bag.

"My invention solves the problem of people with upper torso complications not being able to be independent and put up their own hair," Nichols said. "It also solves the issue of hairbands causing knots, tension headaches and pulling out or damaging hair when they are used. Not only does it solve these issues, but it also reduces clutter and the amount of extra money spent on various accessories."

Along with the bag the Smart Hair Accessories includes two magnetized adjustable stoppers, and a magnetized hair flower to expand the number of possible hairstyles.

Earlier this month, Nichols was recognized in the 2020 Ohio Invention Convention State Finals with two grand prize Edison Awards for sixth through 12 grades for The Smart Suit. This suit is designed to address hot personal protective equipment for health care professions by using multiple layers and a cost -effective material to promote cooling after being put in a freezer. The suit combines many products into one efficient suit, according to the project description.

Nichols said she came up with the project with the COVID-19 pandemic and reports of shortages of PPE in mind.

She tested a variety of materials trying to find something non-toxic and amendable to a hospital environment. Among materials tested were those from items she and her mother, Jewel Nichols, had obtained from garage sales.

“It was just a lot of trial and error,” she said. “I really hope this will help people and save lives in the future.”

Nichols’s award includes a $2,500 College Savings Award by Ohio Tuition Trust Authority and an invitation to the 2021 Invention Convention U.S. Nationals.

This is Nichols’ fifth year inventing for the program. She previously placed with two other inventions: Rido Red, an innovation that helps people with allergies to Red Dye 40 identify foods with the dye and Magic Hairband, an earlier version she made of a headband.

Nichols said she is interested in pursuing mechanical engineering with an eye toward running a company to help others pursue their ideas.

“I hope that people will see what I have done. I want to encourage everyone to invent and make a difference,” she said.

More information on the Invention Convention program is available at www.inventionconvention.org.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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