It’s called the Kangaroo Cup. It’s unbreakable, doesn't need a coaster, sits on uneven surfaces, helps prevent spills, and was invented by an 11-year-old.
A few years ago, Lily Born noticed her grandfather, who has Parkinson’s Disease, was constantly spilling his drinks and wanted to devise a way to help him. There was also an incident between her father, his computer and a hot cup of coffee.
After observing various household accidents, Lily decided to help her family by creating a cup that had a low tipping rate.
“The best way I thought was to make a few prototypes and ask a couple of my family members to hold them and see how they feel,” Lily, a fifth grader in Chicago, tells Ellen’s Good News. “I thought if a cup had something to lean off of when it was about to tip, it would less likely to spill over.”
The young inventor took hand-moldable plastic and added legs to a typical glass. With that, the Kangaroo Cup was born. She then went to a local pottery studio and made a ceramic version, posted the item on Kickstarter and Indie GoGo, and raised close to $20,000 to manufacture it.
Fully funded in November 2012, Lily and “Team Roo” tested the prototype and found it still had some kinks to resolve. They tested different versions, changed the material to plastic so it wouldn't break, made the handles more comfortable to grip, and added a curvature around the rim so that if liquid splashes, it will fall back into the glass.
Additional features included an elevated base, stackable design, multiple colors, stain resistance, BPA-free plastic, and microwave and dishwasher safe material.
With the new design came greater manufacturing costs. Lily started a second Kickstarter campaign a month ago with a goal of raising $15,000 in 60 days, but halfway through, she’s already accrued over $40,000.
“I’m very excited, and actually was not expecting that many people to get the plastic version of the Kangaroo Cup,” Lily says.
The middle-schooler hopes to one day be some sort of product designer, and says she’s learned a lot about business in the process of making the Kangaroo Cup.
“It was very hard,” Lily admits. “It takes a lot of effort, but it’s worth it in the end.”
Her grandfather is also pleased. Now he uses the Kangaroo Cup exclusively, has Christmas-themed editions and a personalized one from the grandkids.
He adds, “I am proud of Lily.”
To learn more about Lily’s invention or to contribute to the campaign, visit her Kickstarter page: kickstarter.com/projects/joeborn/kangaroo-cups-plastic.