STEM School Chattanooga InvenTeam Update
In the past few months, the InvenTeam has made large strides in the technical pieces of our invention. We have created multiple prototypes which include an ultrasonic sensor and a video demonstrating a thermal sensor. This video compared the frequencies between a bike and a person walking through the sensor. However, the team decided not to consider the thermal sensor because it was not cost effective in long term production. Furthermore, there has been extensive research done on the benefits between using an ultrasonic sensor and an IR sensor, as well as what would best benefit the community.
On another note, after hours of drilling and soldering LED's, we have completed the first draft of a bike signal to mount. A weatherproof casing, made from polycarbonate, and has been tested at Chattanooga State's nondestructive lab to ensure the casing will be not only be vandal-proof, but water-tight so that there will not be damage made to the sensor in the case of flooding, raining, or even more common, a bike riding into a puddle and splashing water onto the sensor. A second prototype of the casing has been 3D printed, and the testing team is currently putting both casings through trials to figure out which solution would be most beneficial and effective.
On February 27, the InvenTeam held our technical review at the Edney Center in downtown Chattanooga. Around thirty people sat in, providing helpful feedback and advice, along with valuable contacts for networking. After the presentation, our team had the opportunity to showcase our prototypes and demonstrate the thermal camera to the community. We received valuable feedback from the community, much of which is being considered and much of which we’ve discussed as a team to actually implement into our next prototype.
The team has had the opportunities to meet with several different people to ensure our invention's success. Earlier in our prototype process, Cortney Geary, Senior Multimodal Transportation Planner at the Regional Planning Agency, gave different examples of bike safety in other parts of the world to give our team a broader perspective. The business Tennessee Solar Solutions has been in contact with us for technical support and financial advice. Jennifer Crutchfield, the head of public relations of WTCI, has been incredibly accommodating with the prospect of patenting the invention, as well as applying for multiple grants. She has also been an incredible resource for scheduling potential television appearances for the team. Currently, the InvenTeam is consulting with John Van Winkle and his colleague to discuss a partnership with the city to make more changes to the design for our next prototype in the next week. This will provide a more feasible design that is compatible with the city's wants and needs.