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Lemelson-MIT Program makes grants to high school inventors

Teams of students at 10 U.S. high schools will create inventions that benefit their schools or communities using grants from the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams program.

"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 and the Toyota Professor Emeritus in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. "Our aim is to foster inventiveness in high school students."

Science, mathematics and technology teachers applied for the grants last spring. In the fall, 25 finalists were asked to complete second-round applications honing their invention ideas. A panel of MIT faculty and alumni, inventors, engineers and Lemelson-MIT Program staff selected the grant recipients.

This year's recipients and their proposed inventions are:

Agawam High School in Agawam, Mass. (a pothole prediction and prevention device; Arlington High School in Arlington, Mass. (automatic pedestrian crossing device); East High School in Anchorage, Alaska (snow robot to monitor snow conditions and avalanche hazards); Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. (a Braille-to-voice assistive device); Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, Fla. (inspection-friendly luggage); Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa (an assistive robotic device for the disabled); Norfolk Technical Vocational Center in Norfolk, Va. (an ergonomic student backpack); North Miami Beach Senior High School in North Miami Beach, Fla. (a bathroom assistive device for the elderly); Paso Robles High School in Paso Robles, Calif. (a remote-sensing air quality monitoring device); and Perry Hall High School in Baltimore (a solar-powered water-testing device).

The teams will design and build prototypes during the next seven months and showcase their inventions at MIT next spring. They will provide monthly updates on the web at

The Lemelson-MIT Program encourages invention through outreach activities and annual awards, including the world's largest prize for invention, the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. More information can be found at

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