Sea lamprey invasion has been threatening the Great Lakes fishery and the ecosystem for years. While managing sea lamprey populations is critical to sustaining the environment, scientists are concerned that the animal's larvae are finding ways to evade the lampricide used to eradicate them.
A group of high school students in Stockbridge, Mich., have come up with a potential solution: an accessory for a GoPro-style action camera that provides low-cost, remote underwater camera and water quality monitoring for up to five days at a time.
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Inside the base and mounting system, a sensor package collects images and water quality data and logs that data on a SD card. Scientists can then take that data to study the effect of lampricide on reducing the number of sea lamprey in the Great Lakes to hopefully improve strategies and methods in the future.
This is just one of example of the impressive works of high school students that were recently awarded grants from the Lemelson-MIT program. The program awarded 14 teams of high school students, teachers and community mentors up to $10,000 each in grant funding for projects in three key areas: "Aiding Others," "Inventing Green" and "Safety First."
Like the lamprey eel-monitoring camera, other inventions that won grants were also purposeful and intriguing. The "Aiding Others" category recognized Williamston, Mich., students working on a locker access device to assist students with neurodevelopmental disabilities and students from McMinnwille, Ore., designing a raised platform for disaster relief shelters.
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Meanwhile, the "Green" category awarded students from Spokane, Wash. working on a power generating exhaust system for improving indoor air quality, and among the "Safety First" winners was a group from Norwood, Mass., devising a retractable awning to prevent and clear snow buildup.
"High school students are proving that they can identify problems worth solving and develop impactful inventions," said Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. "This year's InvenTeams are addressing pressing societal needs and striving to solve problems they see in their communities and the world."
The award winners will showcase their projects at EurekaFest in Cambridge, Mass., in June 2016. The program is also calling applications for the 2016-2017 school year, due by March 7, 2016.