DREAMVENTION: Troy family creates robotic toy bin for contest

Published 4:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2018

Troy resident Jacqueline Wilson spends a lot of time picking up after her two young children. With a background in engineering and a contest sparking her interest, Wilson decided she could do something about that.

“The hardest thing for me as a parent is picking up the tiny toys,” Wilson said. “The big toys are easy, but I had seen those robotic vacuums and thought ‘Gosh, I need something like that to pick up toys.’”

Then one day last year when she was still pregnant with her son Maximus, now three months old, Wilson saw about Frito Lay’s “Dreamvention” contest while scrolling through Facebook.

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“The contest was to dream up an invention that would help families everywhere,” Wilson said. “I was pregnant at the time so it was hard to bend over and pick up my toddler’s toys so this came to mind. I wrote down my idea and drew it down on a piece of paper and submitted it. I never expected to hear back.”

But Wilson did hear back, to find out that the her family and the invention had been selected as one of five finalists in the contest.

“They flew us out to Los Angeles and paid for all four of our tickets and the hotel and we got to take pictures with actress Cobie Smulder, the spokesperson for the contest,” Wilson said.

The family also got to see their invention in person for the first time, a prototype that the company paid to have created.

“So the really great part is Frito-Lay had a company called Mako do the design and the prototype for us,” Wilson said. “They took the idea and drawing that I did and really brought it to life for us.”

Now the it is up to voters to decide which of the five finalists will receive the $250,000 grand prize.

“They will also give us the prototype and up to us if we sort of want to make a business out of it,” Wilson said.

To vote for the Wilsons and their robotic toy bin, go to www.mydreamvention.com. Voters can enter for a chance to win $1,000 themselves for participating. Voting is allowed once daily per device until January 6.

“We know that every family has their own creative idea that can solve real-life problems that many other families face in their daily lives, but they don’t have an outlet to bring that idea to life,” said Rhasheda Boyd, director of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “We’re so excited that five finalist families can now say they’re one step closer to seeing their dreams come true by participating in the Dreamvention contest. There were so many creative and unique submissions, and we can’t wait to see who America crowns as this year’s winning Dreamvention.”

The other inventions in the Dreamvention contest are a “kid-safe switch” that sounds an alarm when kids get too close to the oven, “sole-riders” shoes that are designed to allow attachments such as wheels to skate or mops to clean the floor, “glow the way” LED lights that light up when people walk by in the dark to light a path, and “sleepy heads” glasses-holder to keep glasses safe while kids sleep.