Impact Spotlights

Stories and examples of the Foundation's work and the work of our grantees to improve lives through invention.

Impact Spotlights
Eric, left, and Evan Edwards, lifelong food allergy sufferers, came up with the Auvi-Q, an epinephrine injection with automated voice instructions.
June 24, 2015
No one wants to be fumbling for the instruction book when you need a shot of life-saving medicine. That is exactly why a new auto-injector technology talks users through how to administer emergency doses of drugs—minimizing the potential for errors in situations where even a brief delay could prove fatal. The talking injector was the brainchild of two college students who turned their own personal challenges into a major medical products corporation, with the springboards of the right college class and a modest investment from people who understand invention and entrepreneurs.
Impact Spotlights
Katelyn Sweeney (left), Doug Scott (center), and fellow InvenTeam student Olivia Van Amsterdam demonstrated their invention at the 2014 White House Science Fair
June 15, 2015
In 2013, the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam at Natick High School near Boston invented a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of conducting search-and-rescue operations in iced-over waters. The vehicle can traverse the surface of the ice in just a few minutes, then lower a submersible into a hole in the ice with a boom and pulley system. The first-of-its-kind submersible takes the place of a human diver, searching for objects or bodies in dangerous waters up to 40-feet deep with temperatures of 33–45°F. Natick’s InvenTeam has received significant attention for the breakthrough, including an invitation to participate in the 2014 White House Science Fair. The Lemelson Foundation recently caught up with Doug Scott, Natick’s InvenTeam mentor, and Katelyn Sweeney, a former InvenTeam team member who is currently a sophomore at MIT.
Impact Spotlights
Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam participants with Bill Nye at the White House Science Fair
May 15, 2015
Dr. Angela Belcher is an invention force to be reckoned with. The MIT professor of materials science and biological engineering is a leader in the field of nanotechnology, and has leveraged her extensive work on self-assembled materials to start two companies. Yet what excites Dr. Belcher the most isn’t lab work or business plans, but teaching. “If I didn’t have such passionate and brilliant students, I wouldn’t be able to do anything that I do. Students think anything is possible,” says Belcher.
Impact Spotlights
David Sengeh. Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winner and head of GMin
April 24, 2015
The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue inventive careers. David Sengeh, a Ph.D. candidate at the MIT Media Lab, is an embodiment of that mission. Sengeh was one of the winners of the 2014 Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize Competition for his groundbreaking work on improved sockets for prosthetic legs. Sengeh witnessed the need for his invention first-hand by talking to amputees in his home country Sierra Leone and those in the United States. He noticed that many seldom used their legs and if they did, they were uncomfortable. The reason was simple: The prosthetics hurt.
Impact Spotlights
Sanergy's Fresh Life Toilet is a cost-effective solution for sanitation challenges.
April 2, 2015
Most of us take our indoor plumbing for granted, but about 40 percent of people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation. Many of those people live in cramped slums, where human waste ends up in rivers or the street, where it can contaminate drinking water and the food supply and cause disease. A company called Sanergy is helping to solve that problem in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya with a cost-effective solution that is not just providing hygienic sanitation, but also creating badly needed jobs and taking the waste out of the community.
Impact Spotlights
Greenlight Planet provides low cost solar lights
March 12, 2015
Mushrooms that take the place of plastics. A ventilator that saves infants in Malawi and costs less than $200. A replacement for rebar that makes buildings safer during earthquakes. These are just a few of the hundreds of ideas and companies that have been nurtured by VentureWell, a long-time grantee, partner, and collaborator of The Lemelson Foundation.
Impact Spotlights
Harish Hande, co-founder of SELCO
February 10, 2015
Access to sustainable energy has been shown to improve the quality of life for both rural and urban populations by allowing them to enhance their livelihoods, and also address basic human needs, such improving health outcomes and educational success. Achieving this impact requires more than great energy technology delivered in a uniform way to all clients, it requires that the technology that is delivered ties to the livelihoods and needs of those communities with appropriate means of financing.
Impact Spotlights
Spark!Lab activities are visitor-driven and facilitated.
June 12, 2013
The Lemelson Center's Spark!Lab reveals the real story behind inventors’ work through hands-on activities that help kids and families learn about the history and process of invention.
Impact Spotlights
Curiosity, imagination, visual thinking, model building, and problem solving all underlay invention and the inventive mind.
June 12, 2013
Play and its connection to the innovative mind was explored in "Invention at Play," an interactive exhibition by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
Impact Spotlights
Promethean Power System's Rapid Milk Chiller.
June 12, 2013
Promethean’s invention, a Rapid Milk Chiller, provides milk refrigeration at the point of extraction, using an innovative thermal battery which takes advantage of any available grid power to re-charge itself.
Impact Spotlights
Sustaintech's fuel-efficient cook stoves.
June 12, 2013
Sustaintech is transforming the renewable energy space in India by promoting sustainable energy-related technologies and products across rural and semi-urban areas.

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