When Kristin Ann Hrabar was just nine years old, she had a
simple idea for a device that solved a common problem. Her
father asked her to hold a flashlight over a tight space he
was working in while he fixed a household item with a screwdriver.
She thought this would have been a lot easier for both of
them if the tool had a light source of its own. That's when
she began working on the illuminated nut driver, which she
turned into a successful project for her third grade science
With her invention, Aberdeen, New Jersey resident Kristin
became a local, then district, then state finalist for the
"Student Inventions Through Education" science program.
She also won a $1,000 award at the "25th Annual United
States Patent and Trademark Office and IPO Expo" in 1998;
hers was one of just 63 inventions out of more than 8,000
chosen to exhibit at the expo, held at Walt Disney World's
EPCOT Center. In addition, she was one of just two youngsters
chosen to exhibit at the event.
Kristin took her invention to the U.S. Patent Office, which
awarded her a United States Utility Patent (Patent #5,628,556
) by her eleventh birthday. Encouraged by her family and friends,
she took it even further, securing enough funding to start
her own business. In 1999, she began producing and marketing
the tool under the name Laserdriver Tools.
Eventually, as any seasoned inventor knows, she needed to
make some improvements to her illuminated nut driver, which
has a clear shaft and built-in light for easy use and multiple
applications. The changes made the tool even more unique,
not to mention highly marketable. She filed for and received
a new Utility Patent.
Since then Kristen has attracted a great deal of attention,
having been featured in several trade magazines and newspapers,
as well as invited to appear on television shows, including
The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, and on radio programs. She was
also invited to attend a special marketing expo at Princeton
University. In 2000, she was recognized as a "Walt Disney
and McDonald's Millennium Dreamer" ambassador to the
world, participating in a three-day trip to Walt Disney World
where all selected 'ambassadors' from around the world gathered
for a World Children's Summit. She was later invited to attend
the Millennium White House Tour in Washington, DC, where she
met then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. In 2002, Kristin
participated in a television show called the 'Inventors' Showdown,'
taped in Las Vegas and aired on Discovery Channel in June
of that year. She placed second, and was subsequently named
'Young Entrepreneur of the Year' by Partnership for America's
Future,' based in Akron, Ohio.
The illuminated nut driver continues to flourish -- in 2002,
Kristin received her first shipment of 10,000 units, and the
product is now available in several stores as well as online
Meanwhile, Kristin serves as a role model to those around
her, especially young children, not only for her invention
but also as a young woman who has overcome such obstacles
as learning disabilities and diabetes. She is, as of this
writing (June 2003), a high school sophomore in Aberdeen.