Clapper, Farlow headed to Nationals for Cool Dog Collar invention

May 10—THOMASVILLE- Cross Creek fourth graders Ivey Clapper and Isla Farlow are known as best friends to many, but to judges at InVenture, the dynamic duo are the brains behind the Cool Dog Collar, a winning invention that will be up for the national prize.

Clapper and Farlow were tasked by their teachers Bhavi Singletary and Susan Milam to create an invention and pitch that solved real issues through creativity.

"We were looking for a project that would boost creative thinking, hands-on learning, and STEM," Singletary said. "That's when we came across the K-12 InVenture Prize."

The K-12 InVenture Prize is an invention and entrepreneurship program at Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing that challenges students to identify real-world problems and design novel solutions through analysis, creativity, and the scientific method.

The girls quickly decided on the Cool Dog Collar, which is a collar for dogs that contains two ice packs. The idea came to the girls after Farlow's dog suffered from heat strokes and seizures over the summer.

"I have two yellow labs and my oldest dog Jackson always has heat strokes during the summer," Farlow said. "So, we invented this to help my dog and all the other dogs from having heat strokes."

Clapper said it was important to both of them to make sure not just Farlow's dogs were safe, but all dogs in the area.

Farlow said it took several tries to get the collar just right, as they originally wanted to line the collar with just ice packs.

"We realized that ice packs can sometimes leave little burn marks on their skin, so that's why we decided to only go with two ice packs," she explained.

After developing their product, the two girls worked on their pitch, which was submitted via video.

"We created a pitch and then would pretend we had a judge in front of us, so it was like we were actually at the competition," Clapper said. "We would also sometimes get someone from another group to let us pitch to them and then they would pitch back to us."

Farlow said the feedback was great, but it was also sometimes difficult to take in, as she and Clapper would have to redo their pitch every time after making the necessary changes.

"Sometimes you just get really nervous and forget the lines you're supposed to say and end up standing there," Clapper said.

However, Clapper and Farlow proved to be fearless at the InVenture Prize State Finals. The duo walked away as the winners of the Animal and Pet Care category and the 2nd place winners at the regional level.

They are now headed to compete in the RTX Invention Convention U.S. Nationals on June 5-7 in Dearborn, Michigan, at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.

There, Farlow and Clapper will present their invention to a panel of educational and industry expert judges, meet and engage with other student inventors, professional experts, and special guests, and participate in educational experiences.

The girls are extremely excited to go and partake in the unique experience, as are their teachers.

"I think it will be a great opportunity to pursue our invention and maybe get the word out a little bit," Farlow said.

Clapper and Farlow will be competing on both their grade level and in the Animal and Pet Care category, where they can win a variety of prizes, including scholarships and monetary prizes. However, the K-12 InVenture Prize helps the students with getting a patent.

The patent would be icing on the cake for the best friends, who were surprised they placed at state.

"It was crazy when they announced we won," Clapper said. "Isla was jumping up and down and screaming in my ear. She was just super excited and we were so happy we got an award."

Since winning their award, Clapper and Farlow have turned their focus to a 4-6 minute video they have to present, along with their product at Nationals.

"You present your pitch in the video, along with the price, and all the details about it," Clapper said.

Currently, the pitch explains the Cool Dog Collar costs $30 and comes in pink or blue, with one size.

However, Farlow said they are working to get sizes for smaller dogs and expand their color choices.

In the event Clapper and Farlow don't place at Nationals, they can continue to expand on the Cool Dog Collar and return next year with a revamped version that may include additional sizes, colors, and more cooling technology. Farlow and Clapper are determined not to give up, though, and advised their classmates not to be either.

"Just because you don't win at one competition, doesn't mean you can't win at another," they agreed.

Singletary and Milam are excited by the girls' positivity and the adventure that awaits them at Nationals.