Milford youngsters came to the city\u2019s first Invention Convention Saturday with ideas ranging from shoelaces that don\u2019t come untied easily to a new system for harnessing the power of the tide. There were more than 20 inventions presented at the city event, sponsored by the relatively new Milford Education Foundation and held in the Parson\u2019s Center gym. The Milford Invention Convention was open to kindergarten through grade 8 students and was designed to develop and enhance critical thinking skills through invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. Oliver Harrigan, 7, a student at Mathewson Elementary School, was tired of his shoelaces coming untied during the day, so he took some regular shoelaces and sprayed half of each lace with a flexible sealer to make them sort of rubberized. \u201cThey won\u2019t come undone unless you pull them,\u201d Oliver said. The young inventor actually put one regular shoelace in a sneaker, and his rubberized lace in another, one day when he went to school. The plain lace came untied, but the other one didn\u2019t, he said. Ray Nassar, 9, who goes to Pumpkin Delight School, combined regular antibacterial hand soap and GermX to make a new soap that he says kills 300% more bacteria than regular soap. The Cheetah Buddy was presented by Gabriella Williamson, 10, a Pumpkin Delight student who attends the Boys & Girls Club. Gabriella was working on a different invention, but it proved too expensive to make. She and her group of supporters were munching on cheese snacks while they tried to come up with a new idea, and that\u2019s when they noticed all the cheese crumbs that stayed on their fingers. \u201cWe noticed our hands were orange,\u201d she said. So she crafted tongs out of plastic and covered them with cheetah designs. The snack eater simply picks up the cheese snack with the tongs, and that keeps their fingers clean. Judges were lined up with clipboards for the city event, equipped to select the inventions that would be forwarded to the state Invention Convention at UConn in May. James Maroney, president of the Milford Education Foundation, said he was pleased with the turnout for the first Milford Invention Convention, and expects it will take place annually. \u201cIt\u2019s great,\u201d Maroney said. \u201cThere are lots of excited parents and kids.\u201d Cameron\u00a0 Scagliarini, an 11-year-old Meadowside School student, said he was very happy the group had organized the convention because it gave him a chance to brainstorm some ideas. First, he thought of creating a toothbrush with built-in toothpaste, but then he decided on a thumb warmer for the winter time. Cameron said that mittens sometimes leave the thumb cold. \u201cIf you use a hand warmer inside the mitten, it doesn\u2019t cover your thumb,\u201d he said. So Cameron crafted a little sleeve out of material that can hold a small hand warmer. The little sleeve is then wrapped around the thumb part of the mitten and secured with Velcro. \u201cI\u2019m hoping to be an inventor someday,\u201d Cameron said. \u201cNot so much a scientist, but an inventor.\u201d Anthony Capua, 11, who attends East Shore Middle School, already has his business cards made and he handed them out as he stood in front of his invention: An Aqua Accelerator Power Plant. His design harnesses the power of the tide, and can be built in such a way as to not take away from the seashore. For example, it can be built in remote beach areas, or it can be built underneath docks so people still have access to the water. He demonstrated his idea with a large tray filled with water, over which he had built a sort of hinged gateway that rose and fell with the movement of the tide. Anthony said he got the idea last summer when he was swimming in the ocean and felt the power of the waves. \u201cI thought if we could use the power it would be helpful to the community,\u201d he said. Other inventions included a sock organizer for people who need help finding matching socks, a battery equipped cup to keep hot beverages hot, a hair detangler, a book stand for reading in bed, and more Shailaja Peddinti, who accompanied her two daughters to the Invention Convention, said she was very happy the Milford Education Foundation had organized the event and would love to see more of this kind of thing in Milford. \u201cIt\u2019s a very good idea for getting creativity out of the kids at a young age,\u201d Peddinti said. The winners, who will move onto the state competition, were Oliver Harrigan with his Stay-Tight Laces; Nihitha Kothapalli with a Magic Glove; Corina Massey, who invented the Softball Sun Shield and Gabriella Williamson with her Cheeta Buddy.