November 27, 2015

Nothing says “best InvenTeammates ever!” like a good old-fashioned paintball battle, which is exactly what we found out this August.  Team bonding rose to the next level in the crucial moments of Capture the Flag, not to mention during our many early morning meetings spent with bonding moments, brainstorms, and breakfast.

Along with paintball, we had a cool opportunity this summer regarding our invention.  In July, the team met with engineers at Bekum America Corporation, a Williamston-based blow molding machine manufacturer, to learn about the construction of our prototype.  Since receiving the grant, each member of our team has been working hard to kick start Project HANDL, from media interviews to fundraising to numerous hours in the build room. 

Meeting at BekumMeeting at Bekum
We have had several great media opportunities so far.  Anna, Ethan, and Mr. Rasmus were interviewed for WKAR Public Radio.  Our whole team was also interviewed and HANDL and the Williamston InvenTeam were featured in an article by the Lansing State Journal. We were also recently interviewed by the Williamston Enterprise. Our team is excited for more opportunities to interact with local media.

Anna's interview with WKARAnna's interview with WKAR

On the technical side of things, our engineers used Solidworks to design the connection point between the locker and the HANDL device.  This funnel-shaped piece attaches to the combination dial of the locker.  We then used our school’s Form 1 Labs 3D Printer to print designs of this piece to find the perfect connection.  Our engineers used an Arduino Uno board to create the prototype motherboard, or the brain of HANDL.  We also worked on turning the combination dial by connecting a stepper motor to the motherboard.  Kelley, our Financial Lead, has been working hard with our engineers to ensure that they are equipped with everything they need to create our first HANDL prototypes.

Ethan and GarrettEthan and GarrettPrinting the connection point, or funnel, to connect to the dialPrinting the connection point, or funnel, to connect to the dialHANDL motherboardHANDL motherboardMeasuring the combination dialMeasuring the combination dial

Fundraising has also been a big focus for us this month, and we are very excited by how well it has gone!  During Parent/Teacher Conferences, our InvenTeam set up tables at each of the schools in Williamston to ask for community support by sharing information about Project HANDL, InvenTeam, and EurekaFest.  From this, we raised almost $700!  In addition, the Williamston Chapter of the National Honor Society raised $175 for our team in a Halloween fundraiser.  We are very appreciative of their help.  Coming up, we will be participating in our community’s Holiday Light Parade, presenting at the Rotary Club, and sending letters out to friends and family.  Finally, we are grateful to have received support from the Williamston Schools Foundation and the Williamston Chamber of Commerce.

Jess and Sarah at P/T ConferencesJess and Sarah at P/T Conferences

We have a lot of work ahead, but we are eager and excited to continue developing our prototype, fundraising for EurekaFest, and sharing information about InvenTeams and Project HANDL.  Like us on Facebook at, follow us on Twitter @WHSInvenTeam, and be sure to check out our November video and the links to our interviews below!

Media Links:

November Video!