Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Meeting With Computer Science Major

Yesterday, InvenTeam members working on Aegis met with Tom Hays to discuss programming their prototype. Tom, a current Computer Science major at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, helped us map out the flow of our program. Once we get an updated and formal version of the program map, it will be much easier to contnue programming into the latter stages of the design process where the Java concepts get much more complicated. Tom also helped our group to fix on of the bugs we were having on Eclipse which was preventing us from previewing the code correctly.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Today, the InvenTeam members working on Aegis have almost finished coding the HTML for their home page. They are getting ready to launch the website and hopefully will be putting the Java code in at a later date so that our prototype is working correctly. Our group researched domain names for the website while Tom Corona continually worked on the Java functions. Tristan DeJesus kept on working on making laptop holders for the group so that they could sell them and purchase the rights to develop applications for Apple products.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Aegis Group Making Real Progress

After months of research, it is very visible now that the members working on the college campus safety device, Aegis, are making tremendous headway. Tom Corona and Tristan Frey are coding the transition between the login page and the functions of the website. They are trying to make it so that when a user types in new or existing login information, the program executes script based on the inputs that it receives. Whether new or existing information, the login sequence is a daunting task. While they are working on the login, Chad Baker and myself have created a semi-functionable HTML web page that will be the scaffolding for the Java code that Tom and Tristan are making. After we have all the information typed up in HTML, we will use CSS to style the web page.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Today, the InvenTeam members are working on Aegis are focusing on the HTML layout while Tom Corona and Tristan Frey continue to use Java to program the functions of their idea. Chad Baker and myself are working on getting a functionable website up and running that people can use to contact us before we implement the Java functions onto the website. Also, Mackenzie Knight and James Millar are working on finding materials that they can use to construct a prototype of the water recycling feature that they designed for the Shower Temperature Control Unit. They also finished a logo and are working on programming the PLC unit simultaneously.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Aegis Logo

Today, Nick Florin and Chad Baker finished the final logo for the project. Also, the group fixed the problems they were having with Eclipse on the school computers and was able to continue programming the website. They are focusing some attention on HTML now in order to construct the outline of the website.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The InvenTeam members at Saratoga Springs High School recently received news that they would be featured as one of the InvenTeams on MIT's website. I wrote and revised a statement about what our goals are for this year and we took another picture to display on their site.

The Saratoga Springs High School InvenTeam will invent a cell phone application which will allow college students to alert campus security directly from their smartphones. Security will control the system through the database side of the website while the students will have a shortcut to the alert side of the website on their smartphone. When students alert campus security through the website on their phone, the database function of the website will provide security picture identification of the student, defining characteristics, as well as an active GPS location of where they are on the campus. The application will be marketed to college campuses across the country and will lessen the amount of assaults and other crimes committed on campuses year round.

Monday, November 30, 2009

On Wednesday, Tom Corona and Tristan Frey, members of the group working on Aegis, met with Tom Hays at the library to discuss problems the group was having in programming the Java code of their prototype. Tom helped them figure out the problems they were having reopening the projects in Eclipse on the school computers and gave them help with Persistence Manager Factor.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Engineering Design and Development Tutoring

For those students in the introductory Project Lead the Way courses such as Introduction to Engineering and Design, Digital Electronics, Principles of Engineering, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Civil Engineering/Architecture, there is a new tutoring opportunity available. InvenTeam members in EDD are going to be tutoring these students throughout the year and can help with hands on projects, software, and can even help you to understand concepts.

For interested students, please contact Mr. Gallagher or your Project Lead the Way teacher. Tutoring will be available every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afterschool in either Mr. Gallagher's room or your classroom.

Please sign up for a date if you are interested. Click on this link and use the calendar to sign up for a date by clicking in the appropriate box.

If you do not have a Gmail email address, you will need to make one to view the calendar.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Today, Patrick Foss and myself are preparing for a meeting with Maureen Duda, the coordinator for First Night in Saratoga Springs. Our InvenTeam plans to work with other local schools to put together a robotics demonstration during the event. Also, after group working on the college campus security device officially changed the name from The Guardian to Aegis, they began to research Remote Procedure Call which will hopefully being implemented into our program.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

PLTW Tutoring

The new Project Lead the Way logo in Austin, Texas.

While working on their projects, all InvenTeam members are preparing to participate in a tutoring program for Project Lead the Way students at the high school. All members will be required to complete 50 hours of tutoring, and this will hopefully increase the younger students' understanding of the material. Also, this will help prepare students for the rigors of the upper level Project Lead the Way courses. Along with the tutoring program, the InvenTeam is also trying to prevent the "brain drain" from occurring at the end of the year. We plan to do this by getting more juniors involved in the Invent Club which will hopefully allow these students to continue on what we have been working on next year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The InvenTeam met today with all the focus directed back at their individual projects. Our group working on the campus security system met and decided that they needed to switch the name from "The Guardian" to something else because we researched and realized that there was another security company with a very similar name. Also, the lead programmer, Tom Corona, was able to finish the log in page for the database controlled website. Programming in the future should be a lot easier from now on because the InvenTeam used some of the grant money from General Electric to purchase books about Java, HTML 5, and CSS. The other portion of that grant went to the Shower Temperature Control Unit group which purchased a PLC logic controller that arrived today.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Austin Recap

Yesterday, the InvenTeam members that travelled to Austin, Texas for the Project Lead the Way National Symposium arrived home. Overall, the trip was very eventful as Chad, Mackenzie, and myself met with many Project Lead the Way executives, teachers, and board members from other innovative companies. The night before the plane ride home, Saratoga Springs High School placed 3rd in the engineering competition. The objective was to make a children's toy out of available resources that had two mechanical parts that transfered motion between each other. As a prize, we were rewarded with a Fuel Cell Car and a glass trophy to take home along with the plaque honoring our school's presence at the convention. Along with the car and trophies, the InvenTeam members also made many important contacts at the symposium. Many people took up an interest with the EDD project "The Guardian". Chad and myself even received contact information from the Project Lead the Way Affiliate Director, Donald S. Griffith, who said that he had computer science majors at the University of South Carolina that could help with the computer programming of the project. Also, the team received the contact information of Curt Schmidt, the Director of Public Safety in Minneapolis, who also might be able to get the project going.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Project Lead the Way National Symposium

The last two days here in Austin have been filled with presentations and demonstrations. There are about 800 people here from Project Lead the Way, and about 25 different schools. So far, our group has handed out about 200 brochures about the past successes of the InvenTeam at our High School to Project Lead the Way executives and members of other schools. Of the people that we have talked to, we have gotten about 75 to register for our blog and receive blog updates about what the Saratoga Springs InvenTeam is working on. Also, InvenTeam members working on The Guardian received a huge boost when they met with the Director of Public Safety for Minneapolis. He said that if we emailed him, he would possibly be able to help us get the word out about our college safety device. We also met with representatives of the University of South Carolina who told us to email them because they can have some of their Computer Science majors help us with the programming aspect of our project.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blog Hits

A map of international visitors for our blog. Dark green shaded areas represent major populations of visits while light green shaded areas represent smaller populations of visits. The orange dots represent population clusters of hits on our blog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Project Lead the Way Logo

Today, Mr. Gallagher showed all the InvenTeam members the new Project Lead the Way logo that he had received in an email. I worked on taking the graphic of this logo and pasting it into Autodesk Inventor so that I can make a 3D logo along with the coaster that Mr. Gallagher had already made. Then, I put the logo and coaster cutout on a laser template in order to cut the coasters out and inscribe the logo into the wood of the coaster. We plan to take these Project Lead the Way coasters with us to Austin to raffle off to people who sign up on our blog. We also put together video files for each InvenTeam member where they discuss the impact that Project Lead the Way has had on their lives. Many InvenTeam members were staying after school late to finish these videos up while KC Bianco finished the syringe robot to take to Austin.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Today is a very stressful day in the classroom as the InvenTeam is preparing for the trip to Austin. Even with the stress, some InvenTeam members found time to contribute to the tutoring program that was set up for Project Lead the Way students. Tristan DeJesus is working with freshman on their Introduction to Engineering & Design projects. In the meantime, Mackenzie Knight is working on creating a poster with every InvenTeam member's name, contact information, and picture on it to bring to Texas. Hopefully, people we meet in Austin will contact our members with potential questions, suggestions, or ideas. Furthermore, the 3D models that the Computer Integrated Manufacturing classes built and put together are carefully being packed into boxes with bubble wrap to prevent them from breaking.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pressing for Austin

With the Austin Trip only a week away, most of the groups have put aside their projects for time being to get ready for the Project Lead the Way symposium. Some InvenTeam members have finished up making brochures on Microsoft Publisher about the past InvenTeam projects that have received national recognition. They printed and folded 100 of these while other InvenTeam members worked on finishing up the Project Lead the Way posters that we are going to bring to Austin. We had a few problems with the printer so we had edit some of the posters and reprint them. Also, KC Bianco finished using the laser cutter to cut out the two syringe robots. He is currently bending the plastic and putting them together so we can have more examples of projects that we have done in Project Lead the Way.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Getting Ready for the Austin Trip

Chris Carter sat and talked about his experiences with the Project Lead the Way program. He is currently working as a Civil Engineer.

From the left: Nick Florin, Tom Corona, KC Bianco, Chad Baker, Tristan DeJesus, and Mackenzie Knight.

Today, several members of the InvenTeam woke up early on a Saturday morning to come to the high-school to finish some things up to prepare for the Austin trip. We met with past Project Lead the Way student and R.P.I. graduate Chris Carter to catch his memories of PLTW and his thoughts on the program on camera. Also, we each talked about a Project Lead the Way class offered at our high-school on camera. We plan to show these videos at the PLTW symposium in Austin, Texas. While some students were working on the videos, other InvenTeam members worked on cutting the laptop holders out with a laser cutter and bending them in order to sell them in the future as a fundraiser. Finally, KC Bianco worked on cutting the parts to a syringe robot out in order to put two together to bring to Austin.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Today, our class worked on finishing up the rendered videos of all the InvenTeam members that we plan to take to Austin, Texas with us. Also, past Project Lead the Way students Tom Hayes and Juliana Wakeman stopped by so they can share their thoughts on the program. Both students, who are currently enrolled at W.P.I., talked about how Project Lead the Way has helped them decide what they want to do for the rest of their life and how it has helped them get a jump start on their careers. Also, Mr. Gallagher brought in the button-down shirts that he is going to get embroidered with the Project Lead the Way logo for the InvenTeam members travelling to Austin with him. In terms of the InvenTeam members' projects, the team working on the Wind Power Assisted Device is researching programs that they can use to simulate wind tunnels and determine pressure and wind resistance values based on a 3D model that they use. Also, the members working on The Guardian have gained access to the class notes that the actual Java class is working on at our high-school, and is working with Tom Hayes on learning the language.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Grant Money

Today, a member of the group working on The Guardian, Chad Baker, announced that he has recieved a two-hundred dollar grant from Environmental Design Partnership located out of Clifton Park, New York. This money will go a long way for all six class projects which are for the most part, past the stages of research and looking to start purchasing materials to build their prototypes. Of the groups in this stage of the design process, the Wind Power Assistance Device group is looking to purchase materials to construct a wind tunnel to test wind resistance as well as DC motors to turn the wind energy into electrical energy. The group working on the Emergency Vehicle alerter is focusing on purchasing electronic components such as wires, transmitters, LED light bulbs, and sound chips that they will use to build their prototype. InvenTeam members working on The Guardian are working hard after school and during class on learning the Java programming language and are looking to purchase research materials while the group working on the Shower Temperature Control unit is looking to purchase logic analyzers to control the digital functions of the unit. Finally, some group members are diverging from their projects temporarily in order to create multiple models of a syringe robot that they plan to take to Austin, Texas to present at the PLTW symposium as well as to present at the Saratoga Springs High School during First Night.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mr. Gallagher Honored for Work as PLTW Teacher

On Monday, October 19, the InvenTeam students working on The Guardian met in a coffee shop to discuss programming techniques with past InvenTeam Project Manager and current WPI student majoring in Computer Science, Tom Hayes. While there, the Saratogian stopped by and took pictures with the intentions of doing a story about the award Mr. Gallagher will be recieving in Austin, Texas as well as the trip that the InvenTeam members Chad Baker, Mackenzie Knight, and Nick Florin will be taking to Austin, Texas to the Project Lead the Way Symposium. While in the coffee shop, The Guardian group began learning Java programming code as well as how to use software to compile the code such as Eclipse. This code will be fundamental to the design and programming of The Guardian website as well as the functioning of it on smartphones. As well as learning the code from Tom, the group members plan to purchase several books that teach Java as well as using online tutorials to learn it. They plan on purchasing these books with a five-hundred dollar grant the the InvenTeam recieved from General Electric in order to purchase resources for research as well as materials for the implementation of groups' proposed design prototypes. All group members are very thankful for recieving this grant and know that the money will go a long way and be put to use almost immediately.
Link to Article

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today, Mr. Gallagher informed us that he has decided to create the Invent Club at our high school. This will allow the InvenTeam members to stay at the school past 4 P.M. as well as allowing students to help out with the projects even if they are not in the Engineering Design and Development program. One of the first priorities of this new club is setting up the Project Lead the Way tutoring program that we want to do at the high school. Chad Baker has decided to take the lead on this project and is starting to create log sheets to ensure that all students are participating in the program.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our EDD class met for the first time this week on Wednesday because we had Monday off. Some members of the class are working hard on creating video-recorded interviews to show in Austin, Texas during the Project Lead the Way symposium while other students are working on putting together posters for other presentations. Even with the heavy workload from these assignments, the students are still making progress on their projects. For example, the Shower Temperature Control Unit’s group has begun to use CAD software to design a preliminary visual concept of the device while the class members working on The Guardian have started to order books in order to learn the programming they will need to know. Finally, the Wind Power Assistance device group has obtained a remote controlled car to test. However, they are still finalizing their testing procedures.

Friday, October 9, 2009

This week Mr. Gallagher presented us with some wonderful news: First Night of Saratoga is allowing us to do a presentation. We are currently working on this presentation - hopefully it will get our program and our ideas out to a much larger audience. Through the presentation we will hopefully garner more support for us from the community. We are very excited because we will likely be the only students presenting at First Night. We feel it is a great honor for them to let us get our ideas and program out to a broader audience. Patrick Foss and Tristan DeJesus will be heading up the presentation and they feel that it is an honor for them to have this opportunity. Our class is grateful to First Night for allowing us to present and we are working make it worth it for them. We are planning to have an engaging presentation for the community.

Friday, October 2, 2009

InvenTeam 2009

October 1, 2009

The start of another year, and another EDD group to go with it. So far, 6 projects have been begun by different groups or individuals: the “Water Saving Sprinkler System,” by Ben Steer, the “Wind Power Assisstance Device,” by Gary, Elliot, and Colin, the “School Safe Speed System” by Ryan Bobbitt, the “Emergency Vehicle Alerter” by Pat and Eddy, the “Shower Temperature Control Unit” by James and Mackenzie, and “The Guardian,” by Tristan De Jesus, KC, Nick, Tristan Frey, Tom, and Chad.

Each group is at slightly different stages of the design process; however, they have all put in time to research their topic and continue to do so. Some groups, like the Shower Temperature Control Unit, Water Saving Sprinkler System, and Guardian, have made mock-ups of their idea, whether as sketches in notebooks, or Inventor drawings. Others are still working on the actual ‘doing’ of their idea – the Emergency Vehicle Alerter, for example, are trying to determine the best way to transmit a signal from emergency vehicles to standard cars. The School Safe Speed system is trying to get professional ECU reprogramming companies to aid in designing a program which is critical for the project to succeed.
As we continue to research our solutions, we are also looking for means to fund the projects.

Friday, July 3, 2009

MIT Trip Wrap-Up

Overall our experiences at MIT over the 4 day period were extremely beneficial to our growth as engineers. It opened our eyes to the hard work, dedication, and motivation needed to succeed in today's competitive engineering environment. The opportunity to show off our own creation, along with the Invention to Venture workshop were both learning experiences as well as character building events. The trip truly broadened our scope on the world ahead of us, and hopefully next years team will be able to enjoy the same things we did this year.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

2009-2010 Inventeam at the Boston Museum of Science: Rest of day

We were split up into 28 different groups for the design challenge. Our task was to construct an object that would convert wind energy into mechanical energy and raise a garbage can 30 feet into the air. We saw a plethora of ideas and in the end, about half were able to make it to the top.

The ideas ranged from horizontal wind turbines to falling hammers. There seemed to be no trend in the most successful projects but the winner was a wide, large surface area, horizontal axis turbine. The wind hit the plates and rotated the turbine, spinning the rope around, raising the can. Two of our group members were able to raise the can to the top with their new teams.

The day was full of adventure and excitement, and culminated with a lobster dinner. Our time at MIT was very well worth it. We were able to experience advanced entrepreneurial training, as well as experiencing the thrill of presenting and showcasing the Garden Consultant.

2009-2010 EDD MIT Trip day 4 morning: The Saga Continues

We joined fellow Inventeams at the Boston Museum of Science today. After watching a brief video about the creation of RockBand/designing we were pleased to see the rest of the amazing contributions to the Museum. Soon to follow is a competition that allows members of different teams to work together on the topic of wind power.

Broad Institute-On Tour

A solute separator and the Microsoft surface computer.

Jet Turbine-On Tour

A see-through Jet Turbine worked on by MIT students

Unmanned Offroad Car

A two million dollar car with many cameras and sensors worked on by MIT students.

Friday, June 26, 2009

2009-2010 Inventeam 6/26 Afternoon Tours

We began our tours at the 2nd largest and one of the most prestigious wind tunnels next to NASA. Over 70 years old, the wind tunnel was originally ribbon cut by Orville Wright and draws so much power (over 3 mill watts) that they have to notify the local power companies and have a risk of shutting down the campus as they run the facility. Currently being tested was a more efficient wind power generating system although presently it was disabled. Undergrad projects showed how the wind tunnel can adapt to different atmospheric pressures in speeds. We were taken down to a separate lab were we were lucky to see a 2 million dollar unmanned racing vehicle, a jet turbine, and a robotic forklift.

As we explored Broad Institute, we were excited to find Microsoft Surface, an interactive touch screen computer, similar to an iphone. Broad institution is used for chemists, biologists, and those using DNA separation techniques. We were given a tour of the labs and shown how Genome's were sequenced as well.

2009-2010 Inventeam 6/26 morning-afternoon

Today we all woke up and attended the breakfast in the Baker House. We then signed up for two different tours the Wind Tunnel and one at the BROAD Institutue. At 9:00am we headed over to the Stata Center were Humera Fasihuddin once again lead us in the inspirational Advanced Invention to Venture section of Eureka Fest. We began the Invention to Venture class by learning tips and strategies as Humera, along with Eben Bayer, Gavin Mclntyre, Teresita Cochran, Cory Cole, and Angel Hall demonstrated examples of good and bad business plans. We than took the examples and combined them with previous knowledge to articulate a game plan that would allow our project the "Garden Consultant" to have a successful future.

Advertising Our Website in the Stata

Saratoga InvenTeam Showcase Set-Up

Thursday, June 25, 2009

2009-2010 Inventeam Shows off the Garden Consultant at MIT Day 2

We woke up for breakfast around 6 o'clock in the morning then moved on to the Advanced Invention to Venture training with Humera Fasihuddin. The combination of interacting with renowned inventors and the elevator pitch activity was a good learning experience.

Following lunch we moved into the Stata Center's auditorium for the InvenTeam and Student Prizes presentations at 1:30PM. The EcoFridge sparked our attentions and it really felt like there was a lot of potential for the system. Then at 6:00PM we set-up our stand and began to entertain every passerby we could with our new elevator pitch.

After the LMA Award presentation, a very inspiring event, we packed up all our laptops and posters and went back to the Baker house for an ice cream social. We met an aspiring young entrepeneur by the name of Garrett McNeill who told us about his new up and coming site, something that he promises to become an excellent tool for student-teacher communication.

2009-2010 Inventeam Shows off the Garden Consultant at MIT Day 1

Arriving in Cambridge at about 7, we missed the welcome barbecue but were still able to get the tail end of the food. We then checked in, receiving name tags, t shirts, maps, bags, and water bottles.

Mr. Gallagher then led us on a tour of the MIT campus, leading us to the "Dr. Suess-like" Stata Center. There we met the wonderful Leigh Estabrooks, the Lemelson-MIT Invention Education Officer. She told us about the Advanced Invention to Venture training being offered in the morning.

It was beginning to get late and we returned to our rooms to study and prepare for our big day tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2009-2010 EDD plans continue to take shape:

More 2009-2010 invent team members met to bring those who could not attend our last meeting up to speed. A vote was also taken to observe what other members might be interested in doing for this next year.

As a team, we decided on five possible ideas, one being a continuation of the Garden Consultant with an extra feature focused on either research about PH effects or a feature that would allow sprinkler systems to eliminate the rain variable. Other proposals included safety concerns on college campuses, and safety concerns involving school zones and oncoming emergency vehicles. The last proposal defined the problem of wasting shower water and provided a solution.

This last week we have critiqued each other’s proposals as well as provided statistics to define an actual problem. We have assigned a specific role for each and every member to raise money for our team.

Our next critical step is to focus on cutting one to three more ideas and forming groups to work on individual projects. We must stay in contact during the summer as well as learn the necessary programs that will be involved with certain proposals.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2009-2010 EDD team

Today a bunch of us from the 09-10 invent team met with members of the 08-09 team and discussed future plans. We went over what we need to accomplish, and the time constraints we have to do so. We began to narrow down proposal ideas, along with brainstorming ideas on how to raise money for our upcoming year in EDD. We talked to members of the 08-09 team and received information on how we can become successful and what we can do over the summer to help us have a successful and benificial year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Engineering Process: Define the Problem

As we're working, the final presentation is coming together nicely. The presentation is based on the Engineering Process, so we have a few short videos based on different steps in that process. Here is the first one, "Define the Problem".

Thanks to Mr. Anthony Aquino, professional photographer, who helped us in preparing the final presentation. Mr. Aquino has done some excellent work, and you can check out his website at

More to come soon!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

On the Verge of Release: Latest Updates

The last few weeks have been really busy, but we’re on the verge of releasing The Garden Consultant Online. We are working on cleaning up the code, and at the same time debugging and adding new content. The newer code is also allowing us to add new content much faster than previously.

The site has gone through a lot of aesthetic changes in the past few days as well, and is looking very nice. The home page now has more content, including a live feed from this year's blog and an affiliates section. The new results page has a lot of cool functionality. For example, the user can now choose which variables to include in a search. We also have been using a Perl program to add plant pictures to our database, and that is coming along very nicely. Here is a screen shot from the results page:

We still have more changes to make, but there has been a lot of progress. We also plan on adding a map application to the site, which will be able to use a Google Map interface to show the nearest location of gardening stores. There will be a separate post on that later, as well as posts examining other parts of the site in detail.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home: Alumni catching up with this years InvenTeam

Some of you may remember me from last school year but for those of you newer to following the Saratoga InvenTeam blog let me introduce myself. Last year 17 fellow students, Mr. Gallagher, and I applied for and were fortunate to receive a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program. All of us having been seniors, we ended our year with a passing of the torch to this years current InvenTeam as we prepared to head of to college in the coming Fall. Now as many of our Freshman years come to a close, some fellow graduates and I can't resist the urge to come back and see how the current InvenTeam as doing and offer a helping hand.

It is without a doubt apparent that this years class is doing phenomenal work with the new implementation of zone selection, heightened search features, and much much more. Even looking at the work of new high school Freshman in our schools Project Lead the Way program is is obvious that with every passing year the work gets better and better as each graduating class raises and raises the bar. So far I have had the privilege of hanging out with the InvenTeam after school on two occasions so far and it is great to see such a motivated group of dedicated individuals working together. Everyone I have met is headed off to great schools next fall and their university's are privileged to have them.

In addition, is is awesome to catch up with our old InvenTeam friends from last year and hear what each other is doing. It is without a doubt that our InvenTeam experience has had a profound impact in shaping our futures and what we will do in life. Steve Rancour who was responsible for most of the web design on the Garden Consultant last year changed his major soon after settling in to RPI to follow what has become his passion which thanks to his InvenTeam experience is now designing websites! Juliana Wakeman refined her future plans when she decided that rather than being an engineer she wanted to follow in her favorite teachers footsteps and become a Project Lead the Way teacher through her schools program at WPI (For those of you at MIT reading this, keep an eye out for a grant application coming your way from her soon!). As for myself, I have been lucky enough to be working this summer for the Lemelson-MIT Program. After the work I helped facilitate as Project Manager for our InvenTeam last year I have been asked to help create social networking and collaboration mediums for next years grant recipients and this years Excite Award Winners. All of us had a fantastic time with the InvenTeam program and it is obvious that InvenTeams was a life changing experience for many of us.

As more and more of us alumni get back from school ,the after school crowd seems to be getting bigger and bigger in Mr. Gallaghers room. The work this years team is doing is amazing and light-years beyond my fellow teammates and my work from last year. Even the work the freshman classes at SSHS are doing is astounding. As my sister Olivia moves from the Middle School to the High School next fall and begins her four years in the Project Lead the Way program, I find it hard to even imagine the amazing work that her InvenTeam will be doing her Senior year as each passing year heightens and heightens future expectations.

Everyone at the Lemelson-MIT Foundation, Project Lead the Way, Saratoga Springs High School, and everyone's favorite teacher and above all mentor, Mr. Gallagher,

Thank you so much for the opportunies you allowed us and most importantly, for giving my classmates and I the perfect environment to grow and learn in. We could not have done it without you and the best part is, there is way more to come! We can not thank you enough.

All the best,

Elliott Poppel
Project Manager of the Saratoga Springs InvenTeam 2007-2008

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P.S. - For any fellow alumni reading this, be sure to stop in after school Monday when I am planning to be in class or Thursday swing by with Steve and Jeff. See you soon!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekly Report

Hello once again, the inventeam has been busy the last few weeks and this is certainly the case with Dennis Florence the inventeam’s LabVIEW programmer. In last couple of weeks Dennis has been working with the Fishertech interface and using LabVIEW programming to control the various functions of the interface. Such as motors, switches, light sensors, proximity sensors, etc. Dennis has created a LabVIEW check interface program similar to the RoboPro check interface that runs the Fishertech interface. By doing this Dennis has taken a critical step towards the implementation of the Garden Consultant.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


A lot has been accomplished in the last month. Progress worthy of note:
A new plant matching algorithm- a program that takes the data users input from a certain zone (area to be analyzed by the garden consultant according to the user’s needs) and matches it with the plant database we have accumulated over the past two years to see if any plants in the database would grow in the zone the user has created with the conditions stated. This multiple zone functionality will make it easier for users to see what can grow in their gardens at home.
Transition to the new URL has continued, it is more stable and user friendly than it was before. Tutorials will be up on the website and available to visitors and users of the website for help with the garden consultant and everything to do with it.

Matt Choiniere

Friday, February 6, 2009

Weekly Report

This week we changed our website from to we believe this is a more apt name for our website. The MySQL team was able to get the plant table for the database online and is currently putting in the characteristics table that is plant specific. The programming team has been working on removing any bugs that have appeared on the website and they are working on making the website more user friendly. The LabVIEW team has been working on incorporating the Sensor DAQ with the programs they have written. Every week we are getting closer to a fully functional website so make sure to subscribe to our blog so to be kept up-to-date on our progress.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Plant Database completed

Over the last couple of weeks the MySQL team has been working on creating a strong plant table and through hard work and perseverance we have succeeded. The Garden Consultant website now has a fully functioning Plant Database. The Plant Database contains an extensive A-Z list of plants and multiple plant specific lists to aid the gardener in growing their plants.
The Plant Database is basically completed but that does not mean we will stop working on it. The MySQL team will make sure to keep the Database constantly updated so as to insure that the website and its databases are as use full to the gardener as it can be.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

June 2008 Presentation Video Released

The video of last year's presentation at the MIT EurekaFest is now up on MIT TechTV. This represents the culmination of last year's work, and it's exciting to have it available to the public after so many requests. Watching the video has also been a source of inspiration for the current team. The team is re-energized, and has ambitions to produce even more for both local gardeners, and the worldwide horticulture industry. After a few months researching the technologies behind the Garden Consultant, we are ready to move into a new phase of development. We are directly applying new technologies in innovative ways in order to bring the Garden Consultant into a state where any gardener would be excited to utilize our invention. You can watch the video on MIT TechTV at

Thomas Hays
Project Manager for the 2008-2009 Saratoga Springs InvenTeam

Friday, January 23, 2009

AJAX Data Entry

Over the past few days, we have been working on getting the data entry page to run smoother and have some cool features. One such feature is a drop-down menu in HTML which contains the names you've entered for different zones. We got this working in Perl, and then got rid of it to do it over again in AJAX. The Perl required refreshing the page to interface with the Database, whereas AJAX can communicate with the Database without refreshing or reloading the page. So now it only has a few more bugs to work out and it will be ready. It also adds a lot of functionality to the site and really makes it have a more professional feel.
This is also the first implementation of AJAX that we've made, so it has a lot of potential. Many more pages may start being in AJAX, such as possibly Log-in and Register.

This is a video from last year, and may be incorporated into the website. Any feedback on it would be much appreciated.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Inventeam Presentation

We are almost ready for our presentation to Andrea Mann. We went through a long Power Point presentation for all the teams working on the Garden Consultant, as well as the teams doing independent projects in EDD.

The website has a new background up which we think is very clean. The changing season background has been scrapped, as we decided that it looked too cluttered with it. The website is also now capable of inputting Zone Data to the website, with multiple zones for each user. Now we need to have the user be able to access all of his or her previously saved zones and edit them. We hope to have this working soon.

The Google Web Toolkit site (Web 2.0) is interfacing with the database, and looks really cool. However, that project is on vacation so we can focus on getting the main site working.

More updates are on the way!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Garden Consultant 2.0 Beta

We have just gotten back from our two week holiday break today, and already have some exciting new ideas. We plan on using the Google Web Toolkit to give the website a very cool, smooth feel. Google Web Toolkit uses AJAX and has a lot of cool features that will also make the website faster.

Check out some examples here:

In other news, we are approaching the presentation date for Andrea Mann. All of the groups will have their own video similar to the one showed below for the Perl Team. This video explains the use of the Perl scripting language in the construction of the website.

One of the art teachers across the hall is doing some pretty cool stuff, and he asked us to put a link up for his blog. There's a really cool picture up of Grand Central Terminal done piece by piece. He's also going to be having students post in the near future.

More Updates on the way!