Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge 2012 Official Rules

Category I — Ages 5-7
Category II — Ages 8-11
Category III — Ages 12-13
Category IV — Ages 14+

By entering this challenge, entrants accept and agree to be bound by these Official Rules. Any violation of these rules may, at Sponsor's discretion, result in disqualification. All decisions of the judges regarding this challenge are final and binding in all respects.

There is no charge to enter. Students may enter on their own or as part of a group (classroom, Girl Scout troop, 4-H, etc.).

All submissions, not the invention ideas themselves, become property of ePals, Inc and Smithsonian. Through submission of videos, PowerPoint presentations, photographs, Word documents, etc., contestants and their legal guardians grant nonexclusive reproduction and publication rights to the works submitted including photographs of students that were part of an entry, which will not be returned.

Submission Guidelines

Each entry must include an invention idea, how it solves a real-world problem and address at minimum 4 of the 7 Spark!Lab Key Steps of the Invention Process. The entry can use the PowerPoint template provided or another format that presents the required information.

By uploading the work, the individual submitting the work is saying that to the best of their knowledge, the submission is the original work of each entrant, it has not been copied from others, and it does not violate the rights of any other person or entity. Furthermore, the submission adheres to the fundamental spirit of the Promotion and does not contain any defamatory, obscene or otherwise unlawful matter or depict anyone engaged in any illegal, immoral or lewd act, any violent or pornographic material or contain any other inappropriate content (as determined by Sponsor).

All entrant information, including e-mail addresses, is subject to the respective Privacy Policy of the applicable Sponsors.


All US and International entries must be uploaded or e-mailed by January 4, 2013.

If the entry is mailed in, the postmark date must be no later than January 1, 2013.

Sponsors are not responsible for entries that are lost, late, misdirected, incorrect, garbled, or incompletely received, for any reason, including by reason of hardware, software, browser, or network failure, malfunction, congestion, or incompatibility at Sponsor's servers or elsewhere. 

Winners and Prizes

All entries will be judged on or about January 7,  2013 by a panel of judges comprised of Smithsonian, Lemelson Center and ePals staff. The judges will score entries based on how the invention solves a real world problem, how the key steps of invention were addressed, and the creativity and originality of the idea.

For each challenge, there will be 1 winner and 1 runner-up for each of the 4 age categories outlined above. From the 12 winners, 4 will be selected as finalists in the ePals’ Choice  Award. Those 4 finalists will be announced on January 17, 2013. They will then go head-to-head in an online poll where community members can vote for their favorite. At the end of January, the finalist with the most votes will be crowned the ePals Choice Winner.

The winners’ prize packs include a LEGO set, a Smithsonian/ePals beach ball, an ePals Earth stress ball, and a possible patent application filed under the winner’s name.   

The runner-up prize packs include a LEGO set, a Smithsonian/ePals beach ball and an ePals Earth stress ball.

The ePals Choice Winner prize pack includes a LEGO set, a Smithsonian/ePals beach ball, an ePals Earth stress ball, a patent application filed in the winner’s name if their submission is patentable, and a chat for the winner and his/her class with an inventor selected by the Lemelson Center.

Any potential winner will be notified by mail, email and/or telephone. If a potential winner: cannot be contacted, does not respond within five days from the date the Sponsor first tries to notify him/her, fails to return the affidavit and release and refuses the prize, the potential winner forfeits all rights to win the Promotion or receive the prize, and an alternate potential winner may be selected. 


MainRules | Prizes | Winners

Prizes courtesy of: