2013-2014 InvenTeams Grants Announced

Today, the Lemelson-MIT Program is awarding 15 teams of high school students up to $10,000 each in grant funding as part of its 2013-2014 InvenTeam initiative.

Cambridge, Mass., October 16, 2013 – There is an opportunity to strengthen tomorrow’s economic leaders through harnessing the powerful imaginations of today’s youth. A recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute pinpoints talent development among K-12 students as one of five “game changers” that will drive future economic growth. Enhancing classroom instruction, turning around underperforming high schools, and introducing digital learning tools can boost student achievement and contribute to gross domestic product. A strong educational foundation during the K–12 years, which includes hands-on learning, can help students develop new skills and adapt to changing work environments later in life.

The Lemelson-MIT Program provides a select group of high school students with the opportunity to show what is possible in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); areas known to play a significant role in boosting the economy. Today, the Lemelson-MIT Program is awarding 15 teams of high school students up to $10,000 each in grant funding as part of its 2013-2014 InvenTeam initiative.

“STEM-related jobs have been predicted to outweigh non-STEM jobs over the next 10 years. Further, studies show that STEM careers are among the fastest growing job sectors” said Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam initiative helps students foster skills in these fields so they are better prepared to make both a social and economic impact through their career choices.”

The 2013-2014 InvenTeam projects are largely driven by current events, outlining inventive solutions to address challenges in healthcare, the environment and safety in schools. The teams, representing high schools from Alaska to Washington, D.C., will pursue year-long hands-on invention projects merging learnings in STEM with creative thinking and technical skills. Proposed invention projects include an Alzheimer’s patients’ safety bracelet, a coffee pod recycler and a school emergency door-locking mechanism.

“The inventions that this year’s teams have undertaken focus heavily on improving the safety and wellbeing of those in their communities. I feel optimistic that the students are seeing issues affecting others around them, and responding quickly with original and useful ideas to technically solve problems,” said Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer for the Lemelson-MIT Program

Meet the 2013–2014 InvenTeams

A respected panel of invention and academic leaders from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Lemelson-MIT Program, industry and InvenTeam student alumni selected the InvenTeams from a national pool of applicants.  The 2013–2014 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams and their proposed inventions are:

Safety First

  • Benjamin Banneker Academic High School (Washington D.C.): School emergency door-locking mechanism
  • Mt. Edgecumbe High School (Sitka, Alaska): Search and rescue Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • School of Dreams Academy (Los Lunas, N.M.): Remote sensing protection for stationary police vehicles
  • SOAR High School (Lancaster, Calif.): Alcohol level detection bracelet
  • Tenafly High School (Tenafly, N.J.): Alzheimer’s patients’ safety bracelet
  • Wausau West High School (Wausau, Wis.): Autonomous snow removal device

Inventing Green

  • Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School (Bridgewater, Mass.): Coffee pod recycler
  • Catlin Gabel School (Portland, Ore.): Aquatic vegetation collector
  • Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies (Edison, N.J.): Agriculture crop spraying Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • Providence Day School (Charlotte, N.C.): Pedal powered classroom desk generator
  • Sand Creek High School (Colorado Springs, Colo.): Biosand-mechanical filter for water sanitation
  • Wallenpaupack Area High School (Hawley, Pa.): Lake wave generator

Into the Future

  • Elkins High School (Missouri City, Texas): 3D glasses washer
  • St. Francis DeSales High School (Columbus, Ohio): Automatic page turner
  • Vandegrift High School (Austin, Texas): Indoor personal GPS device

The 2013-2014 InvenTeams will showcase their projects at EurekaFest™ in June 2014.  EurekaFest™ is the Lemelson-MIT Program’s public, multi-day celebration of the inventive spirit at MIT in Cambridge, Mass.

Mckinsey Global Institute. (2013) Game changers: Five opportunities for US growth and renewal