Winners of Canada-wide contest invent tools for easier life in space

The Canadian Space Agency challenged children across the country to come up with clever ideas that could be developed into inventions to make life in space easier and more fun.

On Wednesday, hundreds of students from across the country gathered in Fredericton at the University of New Brunswick to attend the 2019 Canada-Wide Science Fair — and hear from the winners of the challenge.

A special guest made the announcement: live from the International Space Station, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques announced the two big winners of the contest, which is called Little Inventors: Inventions for Space.

One of the winners is Connor Brown from Durham, Ont., who teamed up with a footwear designer to create a custom 3D-printed space boot.

“Connor had his idea for custom imprint on the space boot sole, and they asked could I help turn this idea into reality,” said Chris Bellamy, an engineer at Wiivv Footwear.

Chris Bellamy poses for a photo with Connor Brown, winner of Little Inventors: Inventions for Space

Using a mobile phone app, they scanned Brown’s feet and used the scan to make custom insoles.

From that sole, the pair created the perfect-fitting space boot, which will cost $1,000 to make.

Amy Claerhout of Beaumont, Alta., said her winning invention is meant to help astronauts stay well groomed.

“This is the personal Canadarm arm. I invented it to help astronauts with cleanliness and accessibility to personal hygiene in space,” said Claerhout, who was assisted by mechanical engineer Léa Ducharme.

Little Inventors aims to help turn the next generation into skilled creators of the future and nurture a zest for scientific exploration, something that Brown echoed in an interview with Global News.

“We’re the next generation. Once everyone else moves on, people retire, we have to fill in the boots of the people that left,” said Brown.

Students watch as Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques announced the two big winners of the Little Inventors: Inventions for Space contest.

Saint-Jacques has been in space since Dec. 3, 2018 and is set to return on June 24.

Students in attendance at the Canada-Wide Science Fair had the chance to ask him questions about life on the International Space Station.

“I was very excited. I didn’t know if my question would get chosen to be asked and I’m very happy it did,” said Reid Pidsadowski, one of the students.

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