A Yearlong Student Journey to Creating a Working Invention
The inventions showcased at EurekaFest were part of the Lemelson-MIT program, a grant devoted to bringing invention education opportunities to all students – particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.
At the beginning of each school year, the program chooses a handful of teams comprised of students, teachers, and community mentors to become their “InvenTeams,” who they support in their goal of solving real-world problems in their own communities.
Each InvenTeam receives a grant from the program, as well as yearlong support from the Lemelson-MIT program, teaching fellows, and other resources. The students themselves then identify a problem that is meaningful to them in their community, come up with a solution, and build a working prototype in time to show it off for the EurekaFest event. This year, 11 teams – nine current high school and two alumni teams – put their passion and prototypes on display.
Sylmar Biotech Health and Engineering Magnet School
The Sylmar Biotech Health and Engineering Magnet High School (SBHEM) team chose to solve an issue that is distinctly important in their own community, but applicable to just about anywhere: water scarcity.
Since they’re from Sylmar, California, they are no strangers to long droughts with little rainfall and are aware of the need to conserve water.
Their idea to help with water conservation: the Smart Shower.
In their discovery process, the SBHEM team learned that researchers estimate that over 10% of all the hot water drawn for showering in a home is wasted waiting for the water to heat up.
The Smart Shower fixes this problem by using an automated valve in the pipe leading to the shower head that is controlled by a box with a temperature sensor. The valve near the shower head will stay closed, conserving the water, until a desired temperature is reached. The shower head also connects to a temperature sensor that shows the user how hot the water is with an LED light scale.