Understanding Needs of the User
“Helping Henry” became the Palo Alto High School InvenTeam’s mission. Henry Evans was a former colleague of Chris Tacklind, the Palo Alto High School InvenTeam mentor. He became a quadriplegic after he suffered a stroke and required assistance for many of life’s basic activities.
InvenTeam students worked with Henry to create a suitable electronic device for his needs. They invented a head-mounted remote control to foster independence.
During the InvenTeam’s presentation at MIT in June 2004, a student turned to Henry, sitting patiently with the front row audience, and asked him what he would like for dinner.
See Henry debut the Laser Finger.
| Alabama School of Mathematics
and Science InvenTeam (2006)
Partnering with Professionals
The Alabama School of Mathematics and Science InvenTeam took a different path. Donned with Kevlar® jackets and helmets, nine high school students crawled on their hands and knees and felt the ground with their fingers to check for landmines.
Funded by partners IPSCO and Ciba-Geigy, InvenTeam students completed a three-day training session in March 2006 at Fort Leonard Wood’s humanitarian demining training center in Missouri.
“We were able to model our robotics system after a technique that we know works and that the United Nations and U.S. Department of Defense trusts,” said InvenTeam student Reed Tomlinson.
InvenTeams collaborate with intended users to make practical, appealing inventions for them. Additionally, through partnerships with business, government, and non-profit organizations, InvenTeams benefit from supplemental funds, mentor advice, and access to professional tools and equipment. Partnerships are vital for a real-world experience.