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Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Grants Awarded to 13 Schools Nationwide

CAMBRIDGE, MA, October 20, 2004 — Teams of students from 13 high schools across the country received Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grants this year to invent devices that address a problem they have identified.

With high schools facing tighter budgets and lack of funding for extracurricular programs, the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grants initiative provides inspiration, resources and money to encourage high school students to solve a problem through invention.

“Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams makes invention accessible to today’s youth and shows them it can be fun,” explained Merton Flemings, director of the Lemelson-MIT Program, an organization at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that celebrates invention and inventors. “We give students a hands-on learning experience and encourage them to think outside the confines of a standardized test.”

Joshua Schuler, InvenTeams grants officer for the Lemelson-MIT Program, added, “Many of the biggest challenges our society faces will require fresh ideas in science, technology and engineering.”

“We’re giving students a practical taste of these fields and hoping to inspire them to pursue advanced education and careers in the sciences and engineering. InvenTeams also gives students an opportunity to develop professional skills, such as project management, leadership, teamwork, marketing and budgeting, that will help them throughout their lives,” Schuler said.


Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grants were awarded to teams of students from public, private and vocational high schools in urban, suburban and rural communities across the country. Their proposed inventions are in the areas of environmental protection, safety and consumer products. This year’s Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams and their proposed inventions are:
  • Avon High School, Avon, Conn.: Automatic pill dispenser
  • Bow High School, Bow, N.H.: Remote controlled submersible for science education
  • Centennial High School, Ellicott City, Md.: Children’s soap dispenser
  • Colfax High School, Colfax, Calif.: Storm-drain waste remover
  • Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, Miami, Fla.: Human kinetic cells
  • Essex High School, Essex Junction, Vt.: Robotic tennis ball retriever
  • Gulf Coast High School, Naples, Fla.: Electrostatic air-purifying fan
  • Phoenix Charter School, Greenville, Texas: Wind-powered water pump
  • Roosevelt High School, Minneapolis, Minn.: Portable smoke detector for the deaf
  • Saginaw Career Complex, Saginaw, Mich.: Robotic athletic field striper
  • Southside High School, Greenville, S.C.: Motorized load carrier for firefighters
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Va.: Microbial fuel cell
  • West Salem High School, Salem, Ore.: Watermelon ripeness evaluator


Last spring, high school science, mathematics and technology teachers applied for the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grants. Thirty-one finalists were asked to complete second-round applications honing their invention ideas.

A panel of Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni, professional inventors and engineers, and Lemelson-MIT Program staff then reviewed the applications and selected the grant recipients.

This year’s 13 InvenTeams will spend the next seven months working on their inventions and completing working prototypes. Each month they will file updates via the InvenTeams Web site, www.inventeams.org, to elaborate on their progress and detail their expenditures and upcoming financial needs. A final report, including a working prototype and documentation, is due in June 2005.

In the spring, the 13 InvenTeams will participate in an invention showcase event at the MIT campus.

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams has grown steadily over the past three years. Last year, the first year the program was national, the Lemelson-MIT Program awarded grants to student teams from 10 high schools across the country. In 2002, three grants were awarded to high schools in New England.


The Lemelson-MIT Program provides the resources and inspiration to make invention and innovation more accessible to today’s youth. It accomplishes this mission through outreach activities and annual awards, including the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the largest single award in the United States for invention.

Jerome H. Lemelson, one of the world’s most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation, a private philanthropy committed to honoring the contributions of inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs and to inspiring ingenuity in others. More information on the Lemelson-MIT Program is online at http://web.mit.edu/invent.

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