JACKSONVILLE, Fla — A Jacksonville 11-year-old won for the U.S. in an international competition to invent device ideas to help those who deal with hearing loss. Her inspiration for her inventions? Her sister.
The Ideas4Ears competition was put on by hearing implant making company MED-EL, and two women from the company traveled to Jacksonville to surprise Gabriela Torres and her sister at their home.
"I had no idea," Gabriela Torres said. "I was so shocked and very surprised."
In the video submission, Gabriela describes her idea inventions: a vibrating blanket that works as an alarm clock and lights to blink inside a car when another car honks. The ideas are really for her sister, Daniela, who wears a cochlear implant.
"We're very close," Gabriela said about herself and her sister. "We're siblings so we usually argue, but really she's like my best friend."
The cochlear implant Daniela has involves surgery and a magnetic piece to hold the outer part to her head. She got it in 2016 and describes what it was like to hear the world in a whole new way for the first time.
"So loud," Daniela said. "Crying, I want to take it off that day, but I was just patient."
Just as Daniela inspired her sister's winning invention ideas, her bravery changed her family's life too.
"Ella es mi inspiración y Gabby mi fortaleza," said their mother Paola Torres ("She is my inspiration and Gabby my strength").
Torres says Daniela is her inspiration and Gabriela is her strength. She says she's very proud.
Gabriela won a laptop as her prize in the competition. The competition involved more than 270 children from 19 countries.