If you grew up in the 90’s you were guaranteed to have or have played with the Super Soaker, one of the most nostalgic toys to date.
Every summer children would beg their parents for super soakers and use them to shoot their friends with water. The harder the water pressure, the better!
The genius behind this billion dollar company and idea is now making a positive impact on the new generation of geniuses and engineers.
According to an NBC News report, Lonnie Johnson is helping to fund high school robotics teams. He is currently helping the DISCbots, which is a team made up of refugees from nine countries.
The team has been around for only 2 years and has already qualified for a worldwide robotics tournament in Texas.
“If I can have a positive impact…clearly it’s something I want to do.” – Lonnie Johnson
Johnson grew up in Mobile, Alabama during a difficult time for African Americans, the Jim Crow era. He became interested in engineering at a very young age and build a robot for a fair held by the Junior Engineering Technical Society at the University of Alabama during his senior year of high school. Johnson was the only black student in the competition and he won first place for his robot which was named Linex.
Johnson went on to attend Tuskegee University and after graduation, he went on to work for the U.S Air Force and then he became a rocket scientist at NASA. During his time at NASA, he came up with his billion dollar idea for super soaker while testing a water pump that he designed.
“I thought to myself, ‘Geez, this would make a neat water gun! At that point, I decided to put my engineering hat on and design a high-performance water gun.” – Lonnie Johnson
Johnson went on to engineering more awesome toys for the youth, he recently visited his high school alma mater to talk to students about STEM.
“Kids need exposure to ideas, and they need to be given an opportunity to experience success. Once you get that feeling, it grows and feeds itself ― but some kids have got to overcome their environments and attitudes that have been imposed on them.” – Lonnie Johnson via BBC
Keep up the good work! Your creations and your impact will live on forever!