Eureka Springs Students Receive Grant to Create Emergency LifeCane


Eureka Springs Students Receive Grant to Create Emergency LifeCane
8/9/2013 3:00:25 PM

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Initiative inspires a new generation of inventors.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, January 12, 2011 — Eureka Springs High School was recently awarded a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant in the amount of $7,310.00 to create the LifeCane, an emergency alert device for the injured, lost or missing. Eureka Springs High School is one of 15 high schools nationwide to be selected as an InvenTeam this year.

This is the second time the Eureka Springs High School has received this honor. In 2005, they had the distinct honor of being the first Arkansas high school to be chosen as an InvenTeam.

InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors that receive grants up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. Entering its eighth year, this initiative of the Lemelson-MIT Program aims to inspire a new generation of inventors.

“The InvenTeams program represents the future,” said Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer from the Lemelson-MIT Program. “With STEM-focused projects from the Obama administration and leading organizations becoming more prevalent, it’s important to maintain momentum and continue to inspire youth in these fields. With InvenTeams, our primary goal is to foster high school students’ passion for invention and innovation, in turn inspiring them to become leaders and mentors.”

Mila Lynne Floro, EAST Program Facilitator at Eureka Springs High School, initiated the InvenTeam application process last spring and attended training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in June to help prepare the final proposal. A prestigious panel of judges composed of educators and researchers from MIT and Harvard University, representatives from the industry, MIT staff and alumni, and former Lemelson-MIT Award winners assembled this fall and selected Eureka Springs High School as one of this year’s InvenTeam grants.

The Eureka Springs InvenTeam’s device, the LifeCane, hopes to save an injured, lost or missing user by alerting emergency personnel and by enabling them to quickly and efficiently find the user. The LifeCane will also have a light feature that allows users to move about at night, avoid hazardous and dangerous areas and decrease slip-and-fall accidents.

This year's team is made up of students of the Eureka Springs High School EAST Program: Keaton, Kenya, Tillian, Travis, Dakota, James, Keegan and Langley.

The Eureka Springs High School InvenTeam will work with local retired engineer Mitch Wilkinson; owner Bobby Deaton and supervisor Travis Clark of local heating and air company Island Airco; Dr. Jia Di and Dr. Patrick Parkerson of the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering and Robyn Dennis from the Center of Advanced Technologies (CAST) at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville; MIT engineering alumnus Bruce E. Peetz of Trimble; Eureka Springs High School Health teacher Lucy Imrie and Shop teacher Mike Bonds; Eureka Springs High School school alums Kate Murphy (former InvenTeam 2006 member) and Sydney Foggo; and, retired engineer and Engineers without Borders officer Bill Nott (former InvenTeam 2006 mentor). These mentors will guide the students through the development of their invention.

“We are thrilled to be part of the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Program,” said Mila Lynne Floro. “Our students are eager to learn more about the invention process as they create a product that would benefit many individuals.”

Over the next nine months, the Eureka Springs High School InvenTeam will develop its Emergency LifeCane. In June the students will showcase a prototype of their invention at EurekaFest at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. EurekaFest, presented by the Lemelson-MIT Program, is a multi-day celebration designed to empower a legacy of inventors through activities that inspire youth, honor role models, and encourage creativity and problem solving.

The Lemelson-MIT Program recognizes the outstanding inventors and innovators transforming our world, and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through innovation.

Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife, Dorothy, founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering. The foundation sparks, sustains, and celebrates innovation and the inventive spirit. It supports projects in the United States and developing countries that nurture innovators and unleash invention to advance economic, social, and environmentally sustainable development. To date, The Lemelson Foundation has donated or committed more than $150 million in support of its mission. For more information about the Lemelson-MIT Program, visit



Photo 1: This year’s team is made up of members of the Carroll County Inventors Club and students of the Eureka Springs High School EAST Program. From left: Tillian, Langley, Keaton, Keegan, Kenya, Travis, Dakota and James.



Photo 2: The students are seen with the Eureka Springs School Board. From left: James, Travis, Keaton, Tillian, Keegan and Dakota. Missing from the photo are Kenya and Langley.


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