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.