Kid of the Year Finalist Lino Marrero, 15, Invented a Shoe That Can Charge a Cell Phone – TIME

Lino Marrero was leaving cello follow someday when he seen a number of blisters on his fingers. The ache was so dangerous that the 10-year-old inventor from Frisco, Tx. needed to stop taking part in the instrument for good, although he liked music. So he began doing a little analysis on-line to discover a resolution. “I realized that plenty of musicians truly stop their instrument due to finger ache,” says Marrero, now 15. “That’s after I realized I have to invent one thing for this.” A number of months later, the “String Ring” was born. It’s an adjustable band that protects a string musician’s sore and blistered fingers in order that they will hold practising with out a lack of sound high quality.
Marrero’s first invention was a hit, however he didn’t cease there. A 12 months later, on the age of 11, he created an eco-friendly shoe with replaceable soles after studying how costly and environmentally dangerous it may be to personal a number of pairs of footwear. “Shoe waste contributes lots to landfills,” he says, “particularly since they’ve rubber soles that don’t dissolve simply.” As an alternative of proudly owning separate footwear for various sports activities—akin to soccer cleats or basketball sneakers—Marrero’s invention permits athletes to maintain only one pair of their closet.
The self-proclaimed “serial inventor” has a notepad stuffed with innovations like these. He retains an inventor log subsequent to his mattress, with lots of of pages of concepts and mockups. On the very first web page is a message he wrote to his future self when he was 10 years outdated: “This log, in all its staple marks and all its eraser marks, are proof that each time I assumed I used to be finished, I had solely simply begun.” The message, he says, evokes him to maintain inventing.
For Marrero, being an inventor is about social change and serving to the world by creating options to on a regular basis challenges. “I at all times begin with an issue and the way it impacts different folks,” he says. “Can I deliver extra music to the world? Can I make sports activities extra accessible for everybody? Can I assist the setting positively?”
As a toddler, he used to take aside TV remotes and outdated radios, something that may very well be examined. “I actually prefer to get inspiration from my on a regular basis life,” he says. All of his innovations had been prompted by actual world challenges. He got here up with the thought for his newest invention, Kinetic Kickz, after he completed soccer follow and tried to name his mother to let her know he was able to be picked up. However his telephone was useless, and he didn’t have a charger. As he sat on the soccer subject, he thought again to what his instructor mentioned about renewable power sources. What if he might harness the power he expended taking part in soccer to energy his telephone? “I went dwelling and researched all about it,” he says. After spending hours on the drafting board, tinkering with wires and creating 10 totally different prototypes, he created a shoe insert that collects kinetic power and converts it into battery energy to cost a mobile phone. Marrero calculates that 12 minutes of strolling can generate sufficient kinetic power to cost 10 p.c of a mobile phone battery.
When a freak winter storm in Texas brought on large energy outages in early 2021, Marrero lastly received to check his invention throughout a time of want, and it labored. However he additionally realized he wanted to make a couple of changes so the shoe can be extra snug. So he put the know-how inside the only, as an alternative of a slip in, and made it so the collected power goes straight to a USB energy financial institution so it may be used later.
“Nobody in my household is an engineer or something like that,” Marrero says. “So I went to the library, I went on-line, and I discovered about piezoelectric discs and diode bridge rectifiers alone.”
His dream is that sooner or later, the world will use Kinetic Kickz or its know-how to create clear power and restrict the consequences of local weather change. Though photo voltaic and wind energy are gaining extra recognition, Marrero says he prefers kinetic power as a result of “you may’t at all times rely on the wind to blow or the solar to shine.” A highschool freshman now, Marrero desires to encourage different youngsters and youngsters to be inventors too.
Youthful folks, he says, typically have totally different views that may be helpful in creating concepts, however want encouragement. “A lot of the world is youngsters,” Marrero says. “We have to get a sequence going, the place I encourage somebody and so they assist encourage somebody.”
Read about more of the 2021 TIME Kid of the Year finalists here.
Watch the Child of the 12 months broadcast particular, hosted by Trevor Noah, on Nickelodeon on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 7:30pm/6:30pm CT to seek out out which finalist will likely be named TIME Child of the 12 months
Write to Nik Popli at nik.popli@time.com.


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