Cambridge, Mass., October 19, 2006 — What could teams of high school students invent? This school year the answer to that question includes a memory stimulator for people with Alzheimer's and dementia; a reusable fire-extinguishing grenade for first-responders; and a pocket-sized arsenic filter to purify drinking water. With InvenTeams grants up to $10,000 each from the Lemelson-MIT Program, students and teachers at 20 high schools across the country are inventing practical solutions to a real-world problem of their choosing.
"We were astounded with the ingenuity and sophistication of the InvenTeams' proposed inventions," said Joshua Schuler, the Lemelson-MIT Program's InvenTeams Grants Officer. "We hope to continue fostering these students' passion for invention and innovation and are eager to watch them develop their prototypes."
Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams empowers teens to identify a need or problem and work collaboratively to invent a solution to it. Grant recipients are encouraged to work with mentors from their communities. In addition, continuation grants are available to help foster the students' passion for invention and innovation. The Lemelson-MIT Program matches up to $2,000 to help previous InvenTeams continue invention projects. These continuation grants can be used to further the InvenTeam’s original invention or start new invention projects at the school.
"Unlike other initiatives, InvenTeams is about collaboration, not competition," Schuler added. "It motivates high school students to study science, technology and/or engineering in college and potentially explore careers in those fields. It also helps them develop professional skills such as project management, leadership, teamwork and budgeting."
A prestigious panel of judges composed of educators and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and Massachusetts Department of Education; representatives from industry; and MIT staff and alumni selected this year’s InvenTeams from a national pool of applicants.
Merton Flemings, Director of the Lemelson-MIT Program, explained that InvenTeams aims to inspire creative thinking and innovation among high school students by giving teachers the opportunity and resources to provide a hands-on, real-world invention experience.
"There has been much reported about the 'quiet crisis' facing our schools in terms of science and math education," said Flemings. "By encouraging and supporting youth to pursue their inventions and to dream big, we hope to inspire more of them to enter these fields."
The 2006–2007 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams come from public, private and technical magnet high schools in urban, suburban and rural communities across the United States. The grant recipients and their proposed inventions are:
- Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (Acton, Mass.): Reusable fire-fighting grenade (Cisco Systems is providing additional funding and mentoring support to this team)
- Ardsley High School (Ardsley, N.Y.): "Curb-conqueror" wheelchair attachment
- The Bromfield School (Harvard, Mass.): Memory-assist device for people with Alzheimer's, dementia and other memory-related illnesses
- Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Greenbelt, Md.): Dozing-driver waking device
- George T. Baker Aviation School (Miami, Fla.): Portable, solar-charged traffic signal
- McArthur High School (Hollywood, Fla.): Extended-use dry-erase marker
- Merrimack High School (Merrimack, N.H.): Solar-powered biodiesel processor
- Miller Place High School (Miller Place, N.Y.): Wheelchair tip alarm
- Staples High School (Westport, Conn.): Filing cabinet for people with arthritis
- Columbus School for Girls (Columbus, Ohio): Modern high school locker
- Divine Child High School (Dearborn, Mich.): Regenerative braking system for recharging batteries in consumer electronics devices
- Francis W. Parker School (Chicago, Ill.): Electromagnetic products for consumers
- Huntsville High School (Huntsville, Ark.): Underground location and communication device for caving groups and rescue teams
- Gresham High School (Gresham, Ore.): Drip-irrigation system to water household plants
- Hillsboro High School (Hillsboro, Ore.): Self-installed automotive heads-up display
- Newberg High School (Newberg, Ore.): Portable, lightweight solar Stirling generator to provide electricity to remote villages
- Palo Alto High School (Palo Alto, Calif.): Head-mounted remote control for quadriplegics
- San Jon High School (San Jon, N.M.): Pocket-sized arsenic filter to purify drinking water
- Sehome High School (Bellingham, Wash.): Surveyor of solar energy potential
- Westview High School (Beaverton, Ore.): Tactile graphing calculator for the blind
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Every spring, InvenTeams have the opportunity to demonstrate their inventions during the InvenTeams Odyssey at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass. This past June, 18 high schools showcased their invention prototypes, which ranged from a fall sensor for the elderly to a portable water-treatment device.
InvenTeams applications for the 2007–2008 school year are now available at http://web.mit.edu/inventeams/.
ABOUT THE LEMELSON-MIT PROGRAM
The Lemelson-MIT Program recognizes outstanding inventors, encourages sustainable new solutions to real-world problems, and enables and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through 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 that celebrates and supports inventors and entrepreneurs in order to strengthen social and economic life. More information on the Lemelson-MIT Program is online at http://web.mit.edu/invent/.