inventions | KCUR

inventions

Segment 1: How the invention of velcro inspired a scientific discipline.

Learn about bio-mimicry, where scientists use to solve modern day problems with natural world solutions. 

  • Becky Plumberg, educator, Science City

Segment 2, beginning at 14:20: Why a local artist uses lasers to craft traditional folk art.

After moving to the United States from Slovakia, a local artist turned to crafts to connect with her homeland.

Frito-Lay

After her neighbor’s house was struck by lightning, Julia Luetje, an eleven-year old from Leawood, Kansas developed a fear of thunderstorms.

“I’m afraid of storms,” said Luetje. “I don’t like hearing them or seeing the lightning.”

Flashing lights, loud booms and a downpour of rain — it’s a pretty reasonable thing for a kid to be scared about. But when the elementary school Luejte attended held an inventor’s fair, she decided to face her fears.

Segment 1: How people in the Midwest cope when they have a fear of storms.

Spring in the Midwest means blooming flowers and warmer weather ... and also tornado siren tests and scary storms. What is it like for someone with a phobia of severe weather?

Meet a Leawood fifth grader who is one of five finalists in a nationwide contest for her invention, The Storm Sleeper. However, kids aren't the only ones afraid of storms; we hear about astraphobia and the adults who suffer from it.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

In the early 20th century, people didn't have a lot of options for making the tradition of unwrapping gifts more festive. They'd cover packages with brown shipping paper or newspaper, or sometimes wallpaper or fabric.

Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards, Inc., gets credit for starting the modern-day gift wrap industry 100 years ago, an invention created out of necessity during the holiday season. 

Everyone hates stale potato chips, but that little annoyance was the inspiration  that got Mark Shaw thinking about how to reseal the bag. Since then, Shaw's been a prolific inventor and innovator whose nanotechnology work has revolutionized several industries. He says the key to unlocking the inventor's mindset is constantly looking for ways to create doors where there once were only walls.

Liliana and Max Younger
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The basic technology of the crutch, Max and Liliana Younger knew, hadn’t changed since the Civil War.

But when Max’s father became a permanent crutch user after a partial leg amputation in 2008, the married couple — both industrial designers by training — committed themselves to rethinking an age-old technology.

“We knew it was something we needed to change,” Max says.

People have ideas for inventions all the time, but getting those ideas made into consumer products can be a difficult journey.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with a representative of Quirky.com, a website that connects the entrepreneurs with the means to produce their ideas.

Guest:

  • Nathaniel Padgett, Quirky.com

Getting Inventive In Kansas City

Mar 28, 2014
Giles Moss / Flickr-CC

When you tell people you're an inventor, it conjures up images of a mad scientist slaving away in a lab. But what's it really like to be an inventor in Kansas City?

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with local inventor Rich Melton about where he finds his inspiration, the roadblocks he's encountered and how he got started.

Guest:

  • Rich Melton, inventor

Wikimedia--CC

Kansas  City is the birthplace of many inventions that have changed the way we perform everyday tasks. For example, your neck might be a lot hairier if it weren't for Samuel Coffman, who invented the electric clippers. 

Today on the KCUR program Central Standard, we discussed just a few of the most prominent products, icons and improvements invented here. Check out this list of seven life-changing inventions, born right here in KC:

Bruce Bandle / Kansas City Museum

The Country Club Plaza is a staple in Kansas City, but did you know it was the first shopping mall in the country?

Barbers would still be cutting your whole head with scissors if Samuel Coffman hadn't invented electric hair clippers, and washing your dishes would be a much bigger hassle if Marion Trozzolo didn't think to combine Teflon with pans.

The history of innovation and invention conceived in Kansas City is crucial to the city's identity, and starting June 1 the Kansas City Museum will celebrate this history.