The Lemelson-MIT Program has awarded grants of up to $10,000 each to 20 'InvenTeams'--teams of high school students and teachers across the country who have invented practical solutions to real-world problems of their own 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 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.
A panel of judges including MIT researchers, 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 support innovation among high school students by giving their teachers the resources to provide a hands-on, real-world invention experience with science and engineering.
"By encouraging and supporting youth to pursue their inventions and to dream big, we hope to inspire more of them to enter these fields," said Flemings.
The 2006-2007 InvenTeams proposed inventions include:
- Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (Acton, Mass.): Reusable fire-extinguishing 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
- Staples High School (Westport, Conn.): Filing cabinet for people with arthritis
- Columbus School for Girls (Columbus, Ohio): Modern high school locker
- Huntsville High School (Huntsville, Ark.): Underground location and communication device for caving groups and rescue teams
- Palo Alto High School (Palo Alto, Calif.): Head-mounted remote control for quadriplegics
- San Jon School (San Jon, N.M.): Pocket-sized arsenic filter to purify drinking water
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 15, 2006 (download PDF).