March 14, 2018

At the beginning of August this year, 26 freshmen and 28 sophomores in the Kealakehe STEM Academy started out on a quest to find a topic for their InvenTeams submission. Mr. Brown and Mr. Weir (our teachers) started off the process by asking each student to brainstorm different inventions which could solve a problem that they cared about. Everyone presented their idea, and our teachers selected the three best ideas from each class, based off of feasibility and originality.

Within the span of a week, we had narrowed our scope down from sixty inventions to a mere six. From the freshman class, the three ideas were a portable and affordable autoclave, a sensor that detects foodborne diseases like e-Coli in restaurants, and a buzzer that detects breaks in fences on large ranches. We were then divided into groups and performed extensive background research on different aspects of each invention such as budgets, materials, and similar patents. After weeks of preparation, we pitched our inventions, and the best invention from the sophomore and freshman class were selected. The portable autoclave was selected from the freshman side, and from the sophomore class, a drinking and driving prevention steering wheel was chosen. Each class then had to finalize their proposals for the Lemelson-MIT submission. Out of the two proposals, the one that made it through was the DDSC (Drunk Driving Steering Companion).

The following Sunday and Monday we took the proposal and edited it. After 8 long hours of work, we submitted the proposal and went to Denny’s for an early (it was 1 AM) breakfast. We had finally finished work on our invention proposal… A few weeks later we were notified that we had been selected to receive a grant to fund the development of our invention. We had done it!