Max Wallack Wins Grand Prize in Design Squad "Trash to Treasure" Contest




If anyone deserves a special gift this Holiday season for his kindness and his innovative ideas it's ninth-grader Max Wallack from Natick, Massachusetts. He has already won a few rewards for his inventions. His latest invention won him thousands of dollars and has the potential to help the homeless and clean the environment all at once. 

The invention, called the Home Dome was entered in the national Design Squad "Trash to Treasure" contest I mentioned earlier this year. Max Wallack, at 12 years of age, won the grand prize: a laptop computer and a $10,000 prize from the Intel Foundation. He was one out of thousands of contest entrants.

The purpose for the Home Dome was to create an inexpensive shelter for the homeless. To enter it into the contest it had to be made from trash. So, the Home Dome is built with wire, plastic bags and Styrofoam packing peanuts. Max was even thoughtful enough to include a built in bed into his design.

His inspiration for this invention started on a trip to Chicago in 2003. There in Chicago he accepted a prize for his Great-Granny Booster Step invention (a wooden step with a handle made for his grandmother to help her step up into a minivan). There during his time in Chicago he also noticed homeless people living on the streets, beneath highways and underpasses and the sad image stayed in his mind ever since. Max wanted to find a way to help the homeless. He saw the national Design Squad "Trash to Treasure" contest as a good opportunity to try.

It's a good thing he tried it because he won and the Continuum development lab in West Newton, Massachusetts, liked his invention so much they have made plans to build a life size model of Max Wallack's design. That's pretty cool. What's next in Max Wallack's future? Only Max knows, but chances are he's going to invent something else to help someone.

If you would like to read more about the national Design Squad "Trash to Treasure" contest visit Design Squad at the PBS KIDS website.