Quarry Lane School Students Receive Lemelson-MIT Invention Grant to Help Deaf and Hard of Hearing Student-Athletes
The Quarry Lane School is one of 13 high schools nationwide to be awarded a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant to create a technological invention to help solve a problem stemming from their local communities. The Quarry Lane InvenTeam aims to create an in-game communication device that will more efficiently relay information between referees, coaches, and student-athletes—with the goal of helping student athletes who are deaf and/or hard of hearing. year.
InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers and mentors that receive grants up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. This initiative of the Lemelson-MIT Program aims to inspire a new generation of inventors.
"The InvenTeams program represents the future," said Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer from the Lemelson-MIT Program. "We place an emphasis on STEM-focused projects to develop interest in these fields among youth. With InvenTeams, our primary goal is to foster high school students' passion for invention, in turn inspiring them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering or math."
Quarry Lane instructors Mr. Richard Ong, Ms. Ainsley Laing, and Ms. Bora Shin initiated the InvenTeam application process last spring and worked with the students over the summer to prepare the final proposal. A prestigious panel of judges composed of educators, researchers, staff and alumni from MIT, as well as representatives from industry and former Lemelson-MIT Award winners, assembled virtually this fall and selected The Quarry Lane School as one of this year's InvenTeam grantees.
The Quarry Lane InvenTeam, comprised of nine high school students and three faculty mentors began their project by reflecting on issues that they encountered and felt needed to be addressed. As student-athletes themselves, the students recognized the challenges that student-athletes who are deaf or hard of hearing face. They found a common interest in wanting to help their fellow student athletes compete on a level playing field.
Their invention seeks to significantly improve the in-game communication between student-athletes, coaches, and referees. The team seeks to create a device that would deliver haptic or visual cues to athletes when triggered by a coach or referee, thereby providing a more efficient means of communication during game time.
The Quarry Lane InvenTeam is currently in the middle of researching, planning, and testing possible solutions. "With distance learning and the team being physically apart, communication, teamwork, personal motivation, and passion for others has been a driving force of the team's focus and dedication," says Mr. Richard Ong, one of the team's faculty mentors.
Over the next nine months, the Quarry Lane School InvenTeam will develop its invention. The team will build a working prototype of their invention that is showcased at a technical review within the local community in February, and then again as a final prototype at EurekaFest, an invention celebration in June of 2021. The team will collaborate closely with local organizations, such as the California School of the Deaf and Camp Pacifica, to help guide the students through the development of their invention
"This journey has taught me that even as a teenager, with determination and hard work, it is possible to change the world in small, simple ways that can make a big impact," says InvenTeam member, Varshini Vijay '23. "It's a learning experience that I will never forget. It would be incredible to see the use of our invention in games!"
To learn more about Lemelson-MIT Grant Program, click here.
To view the QLS InvenTeam introduction video, click here.