My name is Matthew Justus; I am a 14 year old home-schooler from New Mexico. I came up with my invention one day when my dog Titian was whining at the back door. I fed him, but then came to find out my dad fed him before he left for work. This happened a lot at my house. With five members in my family it was very hard to keep track of the dog’s diet. My dog Titian also had a thyroid problem and had to have a pill every day and night. I looked up on the internet if there was anything to buy that would help keep track of his feeding, but there was nothing.
Keeping pets at a healthy weight is a very important part of making sure they have a long and healthy life. My invention, the Weight Watch Collar, helps people take great care of their pets. It keeps track of food, meds, treats, and the day of the week. Every day you simply turn the knob for the date and then after you feed the dog, you turn the knob for the food. If you give treats, then turn the treat knob, or meds then turn the meds knob. This device is perfect for house pets but can also be used for farm animals. You can clip it on a fence or just have it in the house.
Some of the challenges I faced were what to make the prototype out of, who would buy it, and who would make it. On the construction of a prototype I tried to think about what would be the easiest and quickest way to get my idea across. I tried to find something that was already made. I was able to make the prototype out of a baseball counter by making a few modifications to the dials and the labels, and by gluing clips on the back. I am now trying to find a manufacturer to produce my product so I can pitch my idea to a veterinarian or to a pet product company.
My suggestions to any kid who wants to be an inventor are:
- Never give up.
- Confront your problems head on.
- Keep pursuing what you love.
- A notebook is a must. Write down all your ideas, even the ones you think might be silly, date it and have a witness sign it.
Another great thing to do is enter contests on BKFK which is how my invention was discovered. Through BKFK I was able to be on a Canadian TV show called Think Big. It has been a great ride so far and there is much more to come. I am exited to keep pursuing my dreams and coming up with new inventions.
—Matthew Justus, Kid Inventor
Matthew Justus was a finalist in the 2008 BKFK Akitas to Zebras Animal Challenge, sponsored by the Weather Channel. The contest challenged kids to come up with products or ideas to help animals. Matthew's idea, "Weight Watch Collar," helps pet owners keep track of the number of times a pet is fed.