A Western Iowa boy’s improvement to a product that’s used everyday by millions of people, has turned him into a celebrity. “My invention’s a toilet seat,” he declares, “that has lights around it so you don’t miss in the dark when you walk up to it.” It has both a motion sensor and a light, so he says when you walk up in the dark it lights up “and you don’t miss it by a foot-and-a-half.” Cullen Turner is a third-grader from Anita, whose “Glow n’ go” toilet seat, was invented by accident. He had to go one night, and he didn’t bother to turn on a light when he got up. When his mom woke up a while later and found his aim had been poor, “She wasn’t a happy camper.” After he came up with the idea, he created a prototype toilet seat and took it to the Anita “Invention Convention,” where each invention is judged. Cullen said he was told his design was potentially dangerous. One judge told him you could get shocked by the rope-lights around it, but he doesn’t intend to change the wiring to a battery. Even so, he was one of the top four winners of the event. The next contest was at Green Valley Area Education Area 13, where Cullen was one of the winners selected to move on to state competition. When producers with the Ellen DeGeneres show found out about his invention during a Google search, they contacted Cullen’s school and made arrangements for him to send them a videotape about his invention. Cullen was one of only four students from around the country to be selected to be on the show, which was taped and aired last Tuesday. His actual appearance lasted about two-minutes. Cullen says the most memorable part of the trip was what happened after the show taped. He says his favorite thing was jumping in to a pool with scuba gear on, and his dad shooting his picture complete with snorkel “That makes my lips look HUGE”…and gigantic goggles and flippers. Since he’s an experienced inventor, Cullen has some advice for other young Edisons in the making. Work hard, make sure you don’t screw up, practice a lot, and try to think of the most common problem for Americans, because the judges will like that. Cullen says his uncle and sister are going to try and help him get a patent for the product.
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