2/19/18—Anne K. ’19, a student at Foxcroft School, recently received a U.S. patent for her “Retractable Limited Dexterity Eating Aid.” Inspired by her 94-year-old grandmother who was diagnosed with dementia and has difficulty with fine motor skills, Anne’s tool assists with eating. The device fits around a dinner plate and is designed to push food towards the middle of the plate. It also provides a raised edge to help users get food onto their utensils and prevent spills.
Anne conducted significant research on eating aids as she developed and refined her invention. She also took an online course to learn a sophisticated computer-aided design software called On Shape to help create the device. After she rendered detailed drawings of the device, she created a sample on the 3D printer in The Innovation Lab at Foxcroft.
Anne’s AP English Literature teacher Steve McCarty gave her the opportunity to write and revise the complicated patent application as her major writing project. “Last year I created an assignment in which each student gets to select her own writing project and I help to guide her through the process,” explains McCarty. “We talk about what the end product looks like and the criteria by which I will grade them. The idea is that they get to try writing something other than the typical English essay…The best-case scenario [with this assignment] is when the student gets to write something that she would do if only she had the time. This is what happened with Anne.”
Anne joins the small yet powerful cohort of female inventors who currently only hold about 10% of all U.S. patents.