ELMWOOD PARK, N.J.—While most material handling managers think of Bubble Wrap as protective packaging material, thirteen-year-old Hannah Haas, from Charlotte, N.C., had a bolder vision. Haas has been named the grand-prize winner in the annual, nationwide Bubble Wrap competition for young inventors. Sealed Air Corp. is the creator of Bubble Wrap.
Haas’ invention, entitled “Sensory Wallpaper,” uses Bubble Wrap brand cushioning to create wallpaper that is designed to stimulate, engage and comfort children afflicted with autism. The invention, which combines a textured bubble surface containing large and small bubbles on a calming, blue wallpaper background, edged out more than 1,400 entries received and earned the eighth-grader the competition’s top prize and a $10,000 U.S. savings bond.
“SealedAir would like to congratulate Hannah on winning the grand prize and for coming up with such a creative and inspiring invention that seeks to make a positive impact in the lives of others,” said William V. Hickey, Sealed Air’s presidentand CEO.
In an essay accompanying her invention, Haas pointed out that, according to the Autism Society of America, more than one million people in the U.S. are living with one of the autism spectrum disorders. She explained that children with autism and sensory processing disorder often find that rubbing their hands on textured surfaces is calming, and that this sensory input gives children with sensory issues an awareness of their own bodies as well as their environment. Haas designed her “Sensory Wallpaper” to give children with autism the sensory stimulation they crave built right into their own environment.