Mandy Rae Candler, a quadriplegic with physical and mental disabilities, had difficulty performing her job independently. Employed by Rural Employment Alternatives Inc. (R.E.A., Inc.), a non-profit institution that provides job opportunities for the physically and mentally challenged, Mandy's task was to label envelopes. Not only was this difficult and strenuous with limited use of her arm, but it was also inefficient.
Avalanches pose a safety threat in snowy regions across the world. Where snow abounds, skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers are often caught off guard by avalanches and may become trapped underneath snow and ice.
In Arlington, Mass., there are many intersections without controlled crosswalks, and many pedestrians have been struck by vehicles at these locations.
The Arlington High School InvenTeam decided to create a system to enhance the safety of pedestrians at uncontrolled crosswalks. They devised an alert system to show the drivers when pedestrians were crossing and indicate which way they were going.
Many people find it difficult to determine when a watermelon is ripe. Contrary to popular belief, watermelons do not ripen once picked from the vine. This problem plagued West Salem High School InvenTeam student Ryan Bonacker, who worked at a grocery store and was often asked by customers if a watermelon was ripe or not.
The team devised a portable watermelon thumper to test the ripeness of a watermelon, intended for use by farmers, supermarkets or consumers.
Firefighters have a difficult, challenging job. In the course of their duties, they often suffer from stress or exhaustion carrying heavy equipment up the stairs.
The Southside High School InvenTeam decided to create a motorized load carrier that climbed stairways to help firefighters transport equipment.
Athletic fields require a great deal of manual upkeep, including reapplication of painted boundary lines. There are some machines to aid humans with this work, but these machines are expensive and require manual operation.
The Saginaw Career Complex InvenTeam devised an autonomous robot to stripe new athletic fields or retrace existing ones. The team's proposed robot would line a new field in two-thirds of the time it takes to do it manually, and retrace an old field in one-third of the time it takes to do it manually.
People with hearing impairments often cannot hear the alarm from a smoke detector. This inability to receive a warning signal during a fire or other dangerous situation can create a potentially hazardous situation.
The Roosevelt High School InvenTeam decided to create a portable, wearable fire alarm system to alert a person with hearing impairments of any fires detected within a certain range.
A tennis match or practice can be hindered by the inevitable task of picking up tennis balls that accumulate on the court. Tennis courts are often expensive to reserve, so wasting time is costly. In addition, constant bending over to gather balls can strain one's back.
Storm water runoff, which can come from septic tanks, cars, houses, construction sites, farms and ranches, carries with it pollution and debris. This physical waste can clog storm drains, and it is time consuming and expensive for the state to clean the drains. Moreover, the polluted overflow can contaminate water and be detrimental to human health.