All 8-year old Luke Obrycki wanted to do was solve a recurring problem. While playing the outfield for his rec baseball team in the summer, he would often get thirsty but couldn’t get any water.
That’s why he designed and created Refresh-Mitt, a baseball glove that holds a plastic canteen between the leather of the mitt. After Luke spent a year designing a prototype with his father, the glove was finished and Luke’s problem was solved. He never thought he’d be invited to show his creation on ABC’s daytime talk show “Strahan, Sara and Keke.”
“I was very happy when they reached out to showcase my glove,” Luke said. “I just wanted to get this glove made in a day so I could have water the next time I played.”
Luke, a second-grader at Goldwood Primary School, spent a week in New York with his parents, Chris and Sheila Obrycki. He showed the world his creation on Nov. 4 as part of a weeklong segment on kids’ inventions. Luke’s appearance ended with him catching a pitch from co-host Michael Strahan.
“I was a weensy bit nervous to go on and show my invention,” Luke said. “All that was going through my head was to stay focused and not let the craziness affect me.”
The segment showcased four other young inventors whose creations included a multi-purpose hairbrush; a light to help firefighters find exits during a fire; and a device that helps with car sickness. At the end of the week, Frida CEO Chelsea Hirschhorn awarded each of them $5,000 to market and sell their inventions.
Sheila Obrycki credits Luke’s getting on the show to Camp Invention, which he attended three years ago. Using the principles of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the weeklong camp teaches kids about various inventors and helps them develop problem-solving skills by disassembling old electronics.
Each camper’s family is put on a mailing list that alerts them to TV shows looking to showcase young inventors. Sheila applied to appear on “Strahan, Sara and Keke” and posted a video of the Refresh-Mitt prototype on YouTube.
After the submission was accepted, Luke and his father worked to make a polished version of the mitt because the prototype had broken.
Refresh-Mitt was Luke’s third invention. He created a popcorn snack dipped in liquid nitrogen called “A Dragon’s Favorite Snack.” Eating it makes your breath appear to be smoke. He also developed a device for smartphones that limits the time spent on an app. A user must exercise for a certain amount of time to unlock the app.
“Luke is an awesome guy; he’s always wanted to build things,” his mother said. “We love that he likes to invent things and we want him to think of ways to improve things and help people.”
When he’s not busy in the lab like a real-life Tony Stark, Luke likes to play basketball, football, soccer, baseball and hockey, his favorite. He also likes to draw and paint.
Luke has no new inventions on the drawing board, but he plans to bring the Refresh-Mitt into production. He already has a handful of orders from kids in his neighborhood. He is also considering including a compartment in the mitt for snacks, as co-host Sara Haines suggested during his TV appearance.
“We’re very proud of him,” Chris Obrycki said. “He’s got a bright future ahead of him if he keeps at it. It was a fun trip and a great experience.”
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