Kids' Science Challenge: Winners - Lindsay: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Jun 03, 2009
Scientist: Lindsay Carnes

Kids' Science Challenge: Winners - Lindsay

Kids' Science Challenge: Winners - Lindsay
What do you get when you cross a skateboard with a vacuum cleaner? Fifth-grader Lindsay Carnes has a winning idea.


music; ambience skateboard park, vacuum

[skate park]

JM: You might not associate skateboarding with vacuuming, but Lindsay Carnes did, and her idea has engineers talking. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Lindsay is a 5th-grader from North Carolina, who was brainstorming with friends about the way to improve a skateboard. We spoke with her mom, Janice, by phone.

JC: “They were talking in the car about different things such as marbles and stuff on the bottom of it, but then they said, what about that Dyson commercial, where it turns real fast on a wheel.”


JM: Lindsay thought about the ball shaped wheel that makes Dyson vacuum cleaners so maneuverable, and she wondered if the same technology could benefit skateboards. She submitted her idea to the Kids’ Science Challenge, our nationwide competition for 3rd to 6th graders.

LC: “The new vacuum cleaner has the ball in between the vacuum, and it’s easier to get around objects in your house. I was trying to come up with an idea kind of like that with a skateboard, trying to make the skateboard turn easier.”

Well, the idea caught the attention of our panel of judges, and I had the pleasure of calling Lindsay and giving her the judges’ final decision.

JM: “I have some nice news for you.”
LC: “Okay.”
JM: “You are the winner of the Kids’ Science Challenge”
JC: “Oh, Lindsay!” (clapping and dog barking happily)
JM: “in the skateboard category.”
LC: “Thank you so much.”

JM: Lindsay Carnes will head out to California to develop a prototype of her skateboard with engineers Paul Schmitt and Michael Bream. It turns out that the folks at Dyson were turned on by the idea, and their engineers are sending vacuum components to help the project along.

If you want to see how it all turns out, log on to for an update.
Pulse of the Planet’s Kids’ Science Challenge is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.