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Rubber Band Contest Alumni Spotlight

Rubber Band Contest Alumnus Parker Frye Competes for $250,000 with New Invention!

Five Finalist Families are Vying to be Crowned the Next $250,000 Grand Prize Winner in Frito-Lays Variety Packs’ “DREAMVENTION” Contest

Parker Frye is one of the outstanding alumni from The University of Akron's Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors. Frye finished as a finalist in 2015 (with his invention "Chill-Itch", an adhesive patch to stop itchy bug bites) and took home the grand prize in the Arts & Leisure division in 2017 (with his artwork "LIBERTY: The Sum of Our Parts", an abstract work using light, shadows and rubber bands).

Rubber Band Contest Alumni Spotlight

Parker has attributed his experiences in The University of Akron's Rubber Band Contest as pivotal and formative moments in his journey as a young inventor. As Parker recalls, "When I submitted my idea for "Chill-Itch" I was in sixth grade and had invented a number of things (Sole Riders was among them!). I almost always got a phone call about interest in them, but never made the finals of a competition. Had I not been a finalist in the Rubber Band Contest in 2015, I might have given up trying to invent things. That win in the 2017 Rubber Band Contest encouraged me to go back and look at some of the ideas I'd come up with earlier, adjust some of them, and try submitting them to new contests like the Frito-Lays Variety Packs Dreamvention contest"

Parker's family is one of five that will be competing in the finals of the Dreamvention contest for a grand prize of $250,000! The winner will be determined by America and so Parker is encouraging you to vote, "Making the finals of the Dreamvention contest this year was HUGE. All of the finalists win $10,000, but the winner gets $250,000! That would be life-changing. There are some really good ideas in the finals, but I think our idea is great and I hope people vote for it." You can cast votes online and find out more about the contest below. Or you can VOTE NOW AND ENTER TO WIN $1,000!

Watch the New "Ad" for Parker's Sole Riders, Starring Actress and Dreamvention Spokesperson Cobie Smulders


Catching Up with Parker Frye

We’re excited to share with our Rubber Band Contest community some amazing news: Your latest invention “Sole Riders” has been selected as 1 of 5 finalists in the Frito-Lay Variety Packs Dreamvention Family Edition competition, where you could win $250,000! Tell us a little bit about the contest and what’s at stake and how we can vote.

The contest is an invention contest run by Frito-Lay Variety Packs that asks families to dream up a simple invention that solves an everyday problem. It is the second year they’ve run the contest, and the second year I’ve entered. Last year we got a call about one of my entries but I didn’t make the finals. This year we came together as a family for the “family edition” of the contest and submitted a modified version of an idea I had in sixth grade (when I was 12) and this time I made the finals! There are only 5 finalists, and the winner gets $250,000! If we win, my brother and I will use most of the money for college. Right now I think I want to go to medical school, so I know that will be expensive and we’ll need the money. I’d also like to buy a nice guitar, and my brother wants a laptop, and I might want to donate some to a charity.

The winner of the contest is determined by online voting, which is open until January 6, 2019 at People can vote every day, and on every platform, device, and browser they have!

The “Sole Riders” sounds super cool, what exactly is that invention and how did you come up with it?

I came up with the idea in sixth grade as a way of making my walk to the bus stop, which is about a half mile, faster and more fun. I thought it would be helpful to have some sort of wheels I could just carry in my backpack, but rollerblades and things like that just wouldn’t fit. So we looked around online and couldn’t find anything that could do what I wanted. The original idea was to have a special shoe that could clip or buckle onto lightweight wheeled platforms. But from there, the idea just grew. I realized that small skis (potentially foldable) made out of a lightweight plastic would transport well. And my brother Evan and my mom Jennifer then helped add to the list of things that could attach – jumping springs, snowshoes, floor mops, lawn aerators, and more. We saw a prototype of the invention when we went to Hollywood in September for a finalists’ meeting; MAKO Designs did prototypes for all the finalist inventions. The final version has 3D printer-connectors built into the soles that lock into connecting pieces. The attachments are all designed to be lightweight and portable. So far we only have actual prototypes for the skate and mop attachments, but we have ideas and designs for a number of other ones.

One of the cool things we noticed about the contest was that you got to work with a celebrity to create a short advertisement for your invention. How cool was it to meet Cobie Smulders (actress best known for roles including Robin from “How I Met Your Mother” and Maria Hill from the Marvel Cinematic Universe)?

It was great meeting Cobie, who is the celebrity spokesperson for the Dreamvention contest, and seeing her demonstrate OUR prototype in a promotional video! We met her when they flew us to Los Angeles in September. We had the chance to talk with her about our inventions and do a photo-shoot with her and she seemed very nice and laid-back. I know she has two kids of her own and has really supported the idea that the contest was about spending time with family.

Rubber Band Contest Alumni Parker with Cobie Smulders

The “family” aspect of this year’s contest was meaningful for us. There aren’t a lot of things I do with my older brother, Evan. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and likes to do his own thing, and we don’t have a lot of the same interests. This is the first time I can remember that we both worked on an important project together and we had different things to contribute. I had the original idea for Sole Riders. He helped come up with ideas for other attachments and created graphics we used when we submitted our original ideas. It’s fun to be on the same side of something rooting for each other and for our team.