According to the White House, supporting women in STEM is part of America’s strategy to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. Yesterday, three separate groups of high school girls from different parts of the country proved they are poised to help do just that when they were each awarded $10K for their impactful inventions – a science-based underwater sensing/reporting accessory for a sports/action camera, a faucet-mounted water meter to encourage water savings, and a “launch & retrieve” adaptive device for people confined to a wheelchair – as part of the 2015-2016 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams initiative.
InvenTeams is an annual program that aims to inspire a new generation of inventors by engaging high-school students in creative thinking, problem-solving and hands-on learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). InvenTeams are granted up to $10,000 each to conceptualize, design and build technological solutions to real-world problems.
Three of the fourteen winning 2015-2016 InvenTeams are comprised of all girls, marking the second consecutive year that the program has boasted a record number of all-girl teams.
Meet these inspiring young inventors…
Stockbridge High School InvenTeam
The Stockbridge High School InvenTeam’s invention is an accessory for a GoPro style sports/action camera that turns the camera into a low cost, remote underwater camera and water quality monitoring system capable of shooting time-lapse photography for up to 5 days at a time in remote locations without having to change batteries or SD cards. They say, “At the heart of our project is the unique base and mounting system which also houses a sensor package capable of collecting water quality data and logging the data on an SD card. Image, GPS and water quality data which has been logged on the SD card can then be used by scientists to study the effect of lampricide on reducing numbers of invasive Sea Lamprey in the Great Lakes.” So how will their invention be used? “Marine biologists, teachers, researchers and scientists can use this invention to increase the effectiveness of current research methods. The goal is to help improve the efficacy of controlling invasive species in the Great Lakes.”
The Archer School InvenTeam
The Archer School InvenTeam’s invention is an inexpensive, compact faucet mounted water meter with an adjustable aerator to encourage water savings and use during drought conditions in California. The device will be designed to change the pressure of the water flow optimized for different tasks, display how much water has been used that day, compare actual use to recommended baseline levels for the number of people in the household, and will be run by a battery recharged by the flow of water from the faucet. They say, “We aim to improve water use efficiency by at least 50% relative to a regular aerator and by 20% or more relative to a conventional low-flow aerator based on real-world use. By making people aware of their water use at their primary sink, our invention will save water, influence conservation behavior, and encourage people to use water more responsibly.”
Berlin High School InvenTeam
The Berlin High School InvenTeam’s invention is an adaptive device for people who are confined to a wheelchair and would benefit from physical activity to help maintain their independence. This device would consist of three major components, an easily attached/detached wireless control console comprised of a joystick, a robot chassis that can move forward, backward, left or right, and a mechanical arm mounted onto the robot chassis, used to allow the user to retrieve objects from the ground. They say, “Our design is an add-on to existing wheelchairs and features a mechanical lever with a trigger and a mounting platform for a small ball. When the user triggers the lever mechanism it will launch the platform containing the small ball in a preset trajectory so the user can retrieve the ball and repeat the process.”
Brava to these 3 teams of smart girls who will surely be the women you should know of the future!
They along with the other 11 winning 2015-2016 InvenTeams will showcase their projects in June 2016 at EurekaFest™, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s multi-day celebration of the inventive spirit at MIT in Cambridge, Mass.