SIOUX FALLS (AP) – It took three long years and a couple setbacks, but Allie Weber finally has a patent.
The journey for the 14-year-old inventor and host of Mythbusters Jr. started in fifth grade, when she invented the Frost Stopper, a glove that uses a temperature sensor to let you know if you're at risk of getting frostbite. It's paired to a hat with headphones that make a loud, annoying noise to inform you it's time to go inside.
Allie got the idea when she got frostbite on her pinky finger after she was sledding outside and her gloves got wet.
The experience left her fearful of playing in the cold, so she made the Frost Stopper, testing the sensor with an ice pack and then again with a trip to Great Bear Recreation Park.
With the invention complete, she entered it in the 2016 Spark Lab Global Invent-It Challenge.
Allie took the grand prize: a patent for her invention.
"It was really a dream come true," Allie said. "I get to hold this in my hand and say 'I have a patent.'"
The process was an involved one, Allie said. She had to send in sketches she'd made of the invention, as well as details about how she might alter in the future.
For example, the current version of the Frost Stopper has to be plugged in to work, and Allie's working to make it wireless.
Last year, Allie was even informed that the patent had been denied – a scary thought, until a patent lawyer informed her and her family that this was actually a common occurrence that wouldn't be hard to overcome.
On June 15, when it became official, Allie was thrilled.
Her age aside, only 4% of patents between 2006 and 2016 are owned solely by women or teams of women, making her a member of two exclusive clubs, Argus Leader reported.
Patent attorney Jeff Proehl said it's hard to tell how many patents are held by people under the age of 18, as the application does not require the age of the applicant.
But he's only personally dealt with one or two in his career, he said.
"I'd have to give her some credit," Proehl said, "it's pretty rare."
Allie has always had big ideas, said her mother, Kara Weber, and seeing those ideas come to life has started to feel more normal than surprising.
"We are always proud of the hard work she puts toward all she does," she said.
For now, Allie is figuring out her high school class load, but expects to continue updating her Twitter account and YouTube channel while she figured out her next big thing.
And she hopes that she can serve as an example for others who want to chase their dreams.
"Being able to inspire the next generation of STEM girls is really great," she said.