February 21, 2015

The University High School InvenTeam, as part of the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant initiative, presented a mid-year technical review of its STEM invention project at the Orange County Sheriff Department Search and Rescue Unit general meeting on Wednesday February 18.  About 60 people were in attendance.  The purpose of the presentation was to share progress and get feedback from search and rescue professionals for the team's project -- the Aerial Wilderness Distress Monitor and Search System (a search drone communications system for locating lost hikers in wilderness areas).  The presentation included demonstration videos of a quadcopter flying autonomously over a pre-programmed area and hardware mockup of a radio frequency transmitter sending a signal wirelessly to a receiver which in turn directs a camera to take a picture.  At the end of the 15 minute talk, audience members asked questions, offered comments, and gave feedback to the team either verbally, on index cards, or using an online form.  The feedback is used to inform the team's work over the next four months as it finishes building a prototype of its invention.  In June the team will travel to MIT in Cambridge, MA to present and showcase its prototype at EurekaFest, a multi-day celebration designed to empower a legacy of inventors through activities that inspire youth, honor role models, and encourage creativity and problem solving. 

Community engagement is an important aspect of the LMIT InvenTeam initiative. The team is very grateful to the OC Sheriff Department Search and Rescue Unit for giving us a forum to interact with the community.  By connecting with professionals in their fields, the team promotes and fosters a culture of invention, innovation and collaboration. 

The UNInvenTeam is a self-motivated group of student inventors who work collaboratively to conceptualize, design, and build technological solutions to real-world problems.  By working in a STEM project-based learning environment, we develop and practice 21st century skills needed in a world that values collaboration, perseverance, initiative, empathy, flexibility, curiosity, and creativity.