A 10-member team of inventors who are all enrolled at Canadian Valley Technology Center spend Mondays after school inside the school’s Makerspace classroom.
This innovative space on the north side of CV Tech’s El Reno Campus inspires thought and fosters creativity and imagination among students.
Currently, the CV Tech inventor team is developing a working prototype of a first-of-its-kind backpack alarm intended to alert students when important items are missing. The device is meant to help keep students organized and to curb stress.
In June, the team boards a plane to attend the EurekaFest! showcase at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge. A November 2022 grant award of $7,500 from the Lemelson-MIT Program has moved the project from paper to prototype, said Dr. Don Wilson, CV Tech Educational and Technology Coordinator and innovation team coach.
Earlier this week, the team was treated to a brainstorming and discovery session, courtesy of the patent law team at Microsoft. The “#MakeWhatsNext Patent Program” contributes to simplifying the patent process for young inventors by vetting inventions and then helping prepare documents for submission to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The work was provided pro bono, Wilson said. The law team has prioritized helping young ladies, who make up about half the population but just 7 percent of patent applicants, according to information supplied by the Lemelson-MIT Program. Half of CV Tech’s invention team is comprised of females. The legal assistance is valued at more than $20,000, he said.
“During the legal team session, the students were using Slack, a chat tool app that actually came from MIT,” Wilson said. “As suggestions were being made for what we could do to improve the invention, I started seeing the light bulbs go off in the students.”
InvenTeams, as they’re called within the program, are subject to a mid-grant technical review later this month. A team of reviewers provide feedback as students work to finalize their inventions. Community patrons are invited. The event is at 7 p.m., Feb. 23, inside the seminar center on the west end of the El Reno Campus. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations are gladly accepted and will help send the team to MIT for the June event. Gifts might be tax-deductible. Donors are asked to verify with a financial advisor.
The Lemelson-MIT Program is the inspiration of Jerome Lemelson. It’s a name few recognize but most appreciate for the innovations made possible through his brilliance.
Lemelson was a thinker, a tinker and a maker. His inventions spurred the development of cordless phones, camcorders and even robotic warehouses.
Lemelson’s 605 patents rank him one of the most prolific inventors in American history. He and wife, Dorothy, started a foundation in the mid-1990s to prepare the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs.