2007 InvenTeams' Updates

From the Atlantic to Pacific, High School InvenTeams Solve Problems for Their Communities

Acton-Boxborough Regional High School InvenTeam
Acton, Massachusetts

Post InvenTeams Odyssey, the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School InvenTeam continues its research to refine the reusable fire-fighting grenade, for which it received a grant to develop in fall 2006. The invention is activated by the pull of a pin, which releases a fire-suppression gas that can be used as a first response to a burning building.

The students plan to implement a non-mechanical release mechanism so its timing function will gradually and efficiently open the valve that releases the fire suppressant, HFC227. In addition, the InvenTeam hopes to simplify the shape of the device and revise the internal release mechanisms. To achieve the design modifications the InvenTeam has teamed up with a local technical school, Minuteman Regional High School in Lexington, Massachusetts. Minuteman student Gregory Margolis became interested in the invention when he attended a science event at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. The collaboration will give the InvenTeam access to a fully equipped machine shop and technical mentors. In Spring, the InvenTeam hopes to perform a full-scale test.

Invention Showcase, Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Odyssey, June 2007


Palo Alto High School InvenTeam
Palo Alto, California

The Palo Alto High School InvenTeam brought a special guest to the 2007 InvenTeams Odyssey: Henry Evans, a quadriplegic who inspired development of the InvenTeam's "Laser Finger." This custom remote control attaches to the user's glasses or hat with magnets and directs a pulsing laser to sensors made of solar cells that feed information into a tiny computer allowing the user to turn on a light or change television channels.

Through continued collaboration with Evans, the InvenTeam has added new features, including a status LED display, which enables users to more accurately pinpoint corresponding sensors, and a unit that allows caretakers to activate multiple sensors rather than program each individually. The students hope to also develop a rechargeable battery; smaller, redesigned sensors; and a smaller tilt switch so users have more control over the laser when titling their head. The InvenTeam is in the process of establishing a non-profit organization to enable production of its prototype. It is also reaching out to a local Veterans Affairs hospital to help others who could benefit from the invention.

Invention Showcase, Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Odyssey, June 2007