Palo Alto High School InvenTeam
Head-mounted Remote Control for Quadriplegics
Henry Evans, a quadriplegic and former colleague of InvenTeam mentor Chris Tacklind, inspired development of the InvenTeam's "Laser Finger." Attached to the user's hat or glasses by magnets, the remote control operates through a solar cell, which recognizes the pulsing laser and feeds information into a tiny computer, allowing the user to turn on a light or the television. The InvenTeam was able to develop the Laser Finger with the support of the Tech Shop, OK International, Microchip, and SolidWorks. "It only requires the caregiver to put on my glasses. From there on I do everything. In fact, I can now switch on the light across the room faster than an able-bodied person, with no help. It restores a small part of my independence. As a bonus, the laser cost tens of dollars instead of thousands, so you don't need insurance to get it," said Evans.