Magnet student’s invention heading to national expo

Aja Weary, left, is shown with Rockdale Magnet School Associate Director Amanda Baskett. Weary designed a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that she will showcase at the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo in Virginia this June. ((Staff photo: Grishma Rimal)

CONYERS – “I’ve always wanted to go out and see fireworks with my family, but I’ve never been able to because I’ve always been too scared.”

This was part of the motivation that Rockdale Magnet School senior Aja Weary describes she had when creating her own noise-cancelling headphones.

Her invention is targeted towards those on the autism spectrum who might be afraid of loud noises and, hence, unable to enjoy events with large crowds or loud sounds. Weary said that since she herself has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, she understands such difficulties and wanted to design a product addressing that issue.

“How it works is, it has music playing while there is also foam in the back of the headphone and that protects you from the majority of the sound,” she said. “And the music not only helps keep whoever is wearing it calm, it also entertains them a little bit, and it blocks out even more noise.”

Weary designed the product entirely on her own. While she already had the idea in her mind, an engineering project for one of her classes led her to build a prototype and win her school-level design contest.

She took her headphones to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s K-12 InVenture Challenge where students are tasked with identifying a real-world problem and testing a solution to it. Weary placed second in the state in the high school division. Her success earned her a spot at the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo to be held in Alexandria, Va., this summer.

“I am delighted that Aja will be representing Rockdale Magnet and the state at the National Invention Convention,” said Amanda Baskett, assistant director of Rockdale Magnet. “Her passion for problem solving and innovation continue to set her apart.”

Baskett is the founder and co-director of the Georgia Tech InVenture Challenge.

“This is only the second year for Georgia students to participate in the National Invention Convention. Aja will have a chance to share her headphone design with national invention and patent experts as well as compete with students from across the country.”

Weary said that while she is excited about the upcoming convention, she is also a little nervous as the event is a large undertaking and a new experience for her. Nonetheless, she said she looks forward to the expo and the potential of her product.

“Even if I don’t get it to manufacturing, it’s something great for myself, so I can go out there and cope with something like (loud noise.)”

Weary will be graduating this May and attending the Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall to study animation.

A native of Kathmandu, Nepal, Rimal graduated from Troy University in 2016 with degrees in journalism and political science. She has since worked for the Rockdale/Newton Citizen newspapers primarily covering education.