Illuminated Nut Driver
When Kristin Ann Hrabar was just nine years old, she had a simple idea for a device that solved a common problem. Her father asked her to hold a flashlight over a tight space that he was working in while he fixed a household item with a screwdriver. She thought this would have been a lot easier for both of them if the tool had a light source of its own. That’s when she began working on the illuminated nut driver, which she turned into a successful project for her third grade science fair.
With her invention, Aberdeen, New Jersey resident Kristin became a local, then district, then state finalist for the "Student Inventions Through Education" science program. She also won a $1,000 award at the "25th Annual United States Patent and Trademark Office and IPO Expo" in 1998. Hers was one of just 63 inventions out of more than 8,000 that were chosen to exhibit at the expo, which was held at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center. In addition, she was one of just two youngsters chosen to exhibit at the event.
Kristin took her invention to the U.S. Patent Office, which awarded her a United States utility patent (Patent #5,628,556) by her eleventh birthday. Encouraged by her family and friends, she took it even further, securing enough funding to start her own business. In 1999, she began producing and marketing the tool under the name "Laserdriver Tools."
Eventually, as any seasoned inventor knows, she needed to make some improvements to her illuminated nut driver, which has a clear shaft and built-in light for easy use and multiple applications. The changes made the tool even more unique, not to mention highly marketable. She filed for and received a new utility patent.
Since then, Kristen has attracted a great deal of attention. She has been featured in several trade magazines and newspapers and was invited to appear on television shows, including "The Sally Jessy Raphael Show," and on radio programs. She was also invited to attend a special marketing expo at Princeton University. In 2000, she was recognized as a "Walt Disney and McDonald’s Millennium Dreamer" ambassador to the world, participating in a three-day trip to Walt Disney World where all selected “ambassadors” from around the world gathered for a World Children’s Summit. She was later invited to attend the Millennium White House Tour in Washington, D.C., where she met then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. In 2002, Kristin participated in a television show called the “Inventors’ Showdown,” taped in Las Vegas and aired on Discovery Channel in June of that year. She placed second and was subsequently named the “Young Entrepreneur of the Year" by Partnership for America’s Future, based in Akron, Ohio.
Kristin serves as a role model to those around her, especially to young children, not only for her invention but also as a young woman who overcame obstacles, such as learning disabilities and diabetes.