Lemelson-MIT and Museum of Science Celebrate Invention at EurekaFest
October 06, 2011
In June 2011, during the 5th annual Lemelson-MIT EurekaFest at the Museum of Science, Boston, more than 240 high school students from across the country and -- for the first time this year -- from China competed to design, build, and test wind-powered devices able to hoist metal trash cans more than 30 feet into the air. The International Heavy Metal challenge, a partnership between Lemelson-MIT and the Museum, was the culmination of a multi-day celebration of engineering and invention.
The Lemelson-MIT Program inspires invention among young people by offering grants up to $10,000 to enable students, their teachers, and mentors to create solutions to real-world problems. The winning teams of high school students presented their inventions at MIT during the week.
On the last day, 30 teams of randomly matched young people and mentors -- from graduate students to working engineers -- joined forces with Museum volunteers in the wind turbine contest. The day's events culminated in a grand simultaneous "lift off" powered by fans and the teams' devices which hoisted the multicolored garbage cans filled with balloons up into the air, then let them drop to the ground, balloons flying and garbage cans crashing. The winning team (photo on right) overall was Team Fluorescent Green or The Green Beans, led by Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize finalist Sevan Goenezen. The team reached an amazing height of 39 feet in 19 seconds.
Other awards included "Best Use of Duct Tape," "Best Team Spirit," "Best Use of Mystery Item," "Most Spectacular Failure," and "Most Efficient Design" (using the fewest materials).
Throughout the day, Museum visitors also participated in hands-on design challenges and met inventors from Continuum, a global innovation and design consultancy.
EurekaFest also honored the 2011 winners of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability, and the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prizes at MIT. The Lemelson-MIT Awards honor established and rising inventors for their ingenuity, creativity and contribution to invention and innovation.
The Museum's hosting of the EurekaFest event is one of the National Center for Technological Literacy®'s informal STEM education activities.