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A student-faculty team at the Quarry Lane School has received a grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program to create a device that allows coaches and referees to communicate more effectively with hearing-impaired high-school athletes during basketball games.

Quarry Lane, a private school in Dublin, was one of 13 high schools nationwide to receive Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grants designed to spur creation of technological solutions to real-life challenges.

Instructors Richard Ong, Ainsley Laing, and Bora Shin formed an InvenTeam at Quarry Lane last spring and worked with nine students over the summer to prepare a proposal. As student-athletes themselves, the team found a common interest in helping hearing-Impaired athletes compete.

Collaborating with local organizations, including the California School of the Deaf and Camp Pacifica, the Quarry Lane InvenTeam is working on a device to deliver touch or visual cues to athletes when triggered by a coach or referee during a game.

Over the next several months, the team will build a working prototype to be showcased at a technical review in February, and again as a final prototype at EurekaFest 2021.

Jerome H. Lemelson, a prolific inventor himself, founded the Lemelson-MIT Program in 1994 to inspire young inventers.

“The InvenTeams program represents the future,” said Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer for the 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.”

The 13 high school InvenTeams this year received grants up to $10,000 each. Other projects include a device for people using wheelchairs to better retrieve out-of-reach items, a system to sanitize the boots of firefighters, a machine to record police-civilian interaction in personal automobiles, and a mechanism to detect embers and actuate a roof sprinkler system in the event of a fire.

For more information, visit lemelson.mit.edu.