Children present innovative medical breakthroughs during Annual Young Inventors Forum

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Where will the next medical breakthrough come from?

If you were at the Texas Medical Center's Innovation Accelerator complex today, you may have witnessed it yourself-- from second graders.

The TMCx complex was the host of the 4th Annual Young Inventors Forum, and there were no shortage of new ideas.

"I was inspired by lots of people tearing their ACL," said Arabella Forth McCall, one of the young participants. "So, I figured we can invent an artificial ACL to put in your knee."

The bubbly Arabella and her friends then eagerly showed a mockup of replacement ACL wrapped in plastic, to keep the germs out.

Another group showed a stroke helper hand designed to be attached to a wheelchair while being used by someone recovering from a stroke.

"My auntie had a stroke and she almost died from a stroke, so I wanted to find a solution so she didn't die," said Keira-Ellen Idiodi, another participant.

"I'm super excited and strokes don't have a lot of solutions," said Nadiva Chappell of the group. "It's good to have a solution."

All the kids are second graders at The British School.

The students work on the projects for a month, then travel to the TMCx complex for a day of presentations and pitching.

Katherine Forth started the forum four years ago, when her son was a participant. This year, her daughter is involved.

"The best thing about seven and eight year olds inventing is they don't have any limitations. There's no restrictions," said Forth, who works in the innovation space herself.

"So, some of the ideas they come up with are literally out of this world," Forth said.

Other standout ideas included the Depression Detector, which is a dome that measures serotonin levels in the brain, an asthma breathing machine, and a mirror designed to look for unusual skin cancer growths.

Each group of kids presented their prototype in a two-minute pitch session in front of cardiologists, business people, and tech entrepreneurs.

The best ideas got trophies, and who knows, perhaps a funding source.

"There's a Steve Jobs in here somewhere," said Bill McKeon, CEO of the Texas Medical Center and a big supporter of the project. "These are our future nurses and doctors, and researchers are these great young kids. So we want to get them early."

McKeon says he is such a fan that he wants the Young Inventors Forum expanded to Houston public schools next year.
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