— Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Grants Awarded to 10 Schools Nationwide —

CAMBRIDGE, MA, October 20, 2003 — More than 180 students at 10 high schools across the country are getting the chance this school year to work on teams to create inventions that benefit their schools or communities. These students, and their teachers and mentors, are this year's recipients of the prestigious Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grants.

"In a time of tight school budgets and a national emphasis on standardized tests, high schools are hard pressed to fund educational projects that go beyond the basics of math and science," said Merton Flemings, director of the Lemelson-MIT Program, which sponsors the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grants initiative. "Our aim is to foster inventiveness in high school students and encourage them to think outside the confines of a standardized test."

"We want to show students that invention in science, technology and engineering is a viable and exciting career path," added Joshua Schuler, InvenTeams grants officer for the Lemelson-MIT Program. "We're giving students hands-on invention experience and connecting them with mentors from fields related to their proposed projects."

Teams from public, private and vocational high schools across the country have been named this year's InvenTeams. Their proposed inventions represent the fields of assistive robotics, environmental science, health and safety, and consumer products. This year's grants recipients are:

Agawam High School, Agawam, Mass.: Pothole prediction and prevention device
Arlington High School, Arlington, Mass.: Automatic pedestrian crossing device
East High School, Anchorage, Alaska: Snow robot to monitor snow conditions and avalanche hazards
Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, Pa.: Barcode/printed word-to-voice reading device for the blind
Gulliver Preparatory School, Miami, Fla.: Inspection-friendly luggage
Linn-Mar High School, Marion, Iowa: Assistive robotic device for the disabled
Norfolk Technical Vocational Center, Norfolk, Va.: Ergonomic student backpack
North Miami Beach Senior High School, North Miami Beach, Fla.: Bathroom assistive device for the elderly
Paso Robles High School, Paso Robles, Calif.: Remote sensing water quality monitoring device
Perry Hall High School, Baltimore, Md.: Solar-powered water-testing device

High school science, mathematics and technology teachers applied for the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grants last spring. In the fall, 25 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.

The 10 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, http://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 by June 1, 2004.

In Spring 2004, the 10 InvenTeams will be invited to an event at the MIT campus to showcase their inventions.

Now in its second year, the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grants initiative evolved out of the Lemelson-MIT Program's annual High School Invention Apprenticeship, a national program that provided a hands-on learning experience to individual high school students.

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 world's largest prize for invention—the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize.

The Lemelson-MIT Program was founded in 1994 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Jerome H. Lemelson, one of the world's most prolific inventors, and his wife, Dorothy. 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 can be found at http://mit.edu/invent.