Inventive minds: Mar Vista students showcase bright ideas

Feb. 14–APTOS — Have you ever struggled out of bed in the morning with no idea how you’ll dress for the day? There’s an app for that, or there will be if Roxanna Tabatabai has anything to say about it.

“I lay my clothes out before I go to bed, but sometimes I change my mind or the weather changes,” the 10-year-old said.

So Roxanna, a fifth-grader at Mar Vista Elementary School, developed a model on her iPad for an app that not only allows you to store photos of your clothes and put them together for that perfect outfit, but also to check the weather and your calendar to make sure you’ve made the right choices and then share the results with your friends.

Roxanna’s idea was one of the entries in Mar Vista’s Invention Convention, a take on the annual science fair that was designed to encourage student creativity and problem-solving.

“It’s more real world applications,” said Principal Todd Livingstone. “Science fair meets reality.”

Many of the projects were more in the idea than ready-for-market stage, and solved problems encountered by students.

Alondra Salazar, 11, has a hard time remembering to feed her dog, especially as she rushes to get to school on time so she came up with an iPhone-controlled pet food dispenser. Bella Magana, 10, is sensitive to gluten, but has found even though products may say they don’t contain any, there can be cross-contamination during production. Her solution is a portable detector.

Some students built prototypes, like the book holder that attaches to a headboard for hands-free reading in bed, created by Madelyn Moseley, 12, and the Easy Shelf, which uses drawer slides to move a platform up and down. Sebastian Greene, 13, said his family’s microwave oven, perched above his head on top of the refrigerator, gave him the idea.

Abby Livingston, 10, sewed a row of battery-powered Christmas lights onto a strip of fleece for her dual-purpose Safety Scarf, an idea prompted by the habits of her bicycle-commuting parents.

“With the lights, you stand out,” she said. “And it also keeps you warm.”

Santa Cruz Sentinel

(c)2013 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)

About the Author

News content on is produced by our editorial team and complements more in-depth editorials which you’ll find as part of our weekly publication. provides a comprehensive daily reading experience, offering a wide view of the consumer technology landscape to ensure you're always in the know. Check back every weekday for more.

Editorial Team | Masthead – AppleMagazine Digital Publication