Brooke Martin's golden retriever Kayla hated being left alone, and Martin, now 13, wanted to help her. She wondered: "What if you could talk to your dog if you were gone?" and "What if you were able to give them a treat while you were away?"
Then the answer came to her: video chat and dog treats dispensed remotely.
Her invention, called iCUpooch, has earned her a spot competing against nine other finalists in a young scientist competition for middle-school students. These finalists, selected based on their short video presentations, are collaborating with mentors over the summer before heading to the final competition in St. Paul, Minn. [Fun Middle-School Science Fair Projects]
Even before hearing about the competition, Martin knew what she wanted to do, and had been working on prototypes in the garage of her Spokane, Wash., home.
"I have always been an entrepreneur at heart," she said.
After Martin's video put her among the 10 finalists in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, she was paired with Delony Langer-Anderson, a product development scientist in 3M's consumer health care division.