What is your Arctic Innovation?

Winter Fun! Adeline Chakuchin, age 2, made tiny snowmen with her Grandma Edith Carter in their home village of Eek. Photo by Katherine Chakuchin

by Greg Lincoln

Every year the folks at the University of Alaska Fairbanks host their annual Arctic Innovations Competition and it is now time to get your invention ideas submitted. Alaskans have always been naturally inclined to be inventive and imaginative when it comes to making living in our cold climate easier.

This competition is open to youth 12 and under in the Cub Division, ages 13-17 for the junior division, and the main division for 18 and over.

The competition invites innovators to propose new, feasible and potentially profitable ideas for solving real-life problems and challenges. Ideas do not have to be arctic-related.

Last year’s winners included an ultrasonic washer and dryer two in one combo (fan favorite winner), a rooftop snow removal machine where the snow is trucked away after it is removed from your roof, HydroSlats that uses hydroponics to grow lettuce, a wireless table charger for devices, and an industrial maintenance robot that picks up metal (screws, nails, scraps) in your workshops.

There was also a humanitarian solution to shipping baby chicks called the Cluck Box that makes sure the chicks have food, water, and heat during shipping. Another winner was co-op resource sharing sheds where neighbors share tools, etc. reducing hoarding and clutter.

Doggy Oasis is a pet outhouse for winters in Alaska. It uses heat trace under an artificial grass pad inside a small LED lighted tent that provides your small dogs a place to use the potty. It protects them from the elements which can be harsh. There are retractable sides and a catch pan under the pad that makes it easy to clean.

This competition is free to enter, no business plan or prototype required (but recommended). Individuals and teams of all ages may enter and multiple ideas may be entered if you wish. The deadline to submit an idea for AIC 2023 is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 3, 2023. The AIC 2023 Award Ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

You can check out all the winning entries from past years at the Arctic Innovation Competition website. It is sponsored by the UAF College of Business and Security Management.