Invention Convention Bound

 
Each year, we send students to the annual Connecticut Invention Convention, an award winning and internationally recognized innovation contest. This is always an exciting time of the year for us, as the IMS engineers who attend put in enormous amounts of time and effort into their projects. Past IMS inventors have included Lilianna Zyszkowski and Daniel Lee, both of whom won numerous awards for their work. Lilianna was even invited to present at the White House Science Fair! This year we sent a single student, Damian Ding ’17, who entered the contest with his Sports Targeting Accuracy Training System (S.T.A.T.S.) invention.
 
Damian with his award-winning S.T.A.T.S. invention
 

Identify the Problem and Present a Solution

 
Damian had the idea for S.T.A.T.S. when he saw the state of currently available accuracy training tools for athletes in sports such as soccer, hockey, or any sport where the accuracy of hitting an object to a specific area is vital. He commented, “Most currently available tools are obsolete and fully manual with no system of feedback.” S.T.A.T.S. works by projecting targets onto a wall surface and then giving dynamic feedback to the athlete by altering the color based on accuracy. The second stage for S.T.A.T.S. will be to complete the feedback loop by feeding the data from a training session to an iOS and Android application that an athlete can then analyze.
 
 
What makes Damian’s project even more interesting is that he built it using our Maker Space in the Indian Mountain Student Center. With a combination of 3D printers, Arduino Mega Boards, and our new tabletop carving machine, Damian was able to build a fully operational prototype before building his final contest-ready version. Damian could often be found hunched over his workbench or the carving machine during the past couple months measuring, calculating, printing, and cutting again and again and again. With the support of science teacher, Kitty Hickcox, and art teacher, Victor Visockis, Damian’s hard work showed.
 

Hard Work Pays Off

 
At the Invention Convention, Damian took home awards from multiple organizations and he was even invited to attend the CASE Awards Dinner Banquet in New Haven. Here is a full list of the awards Damian earned at the event:
 
  1. CASE Award: Presented on behalf of Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering for an Outstanding Invention
  2. Recognized Inventor Award (Given by CT Invention Convention)
  3. Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair Award — “Spirit of Invention”
  4. ESPN Sports Award — Presented on behalf of ESPN for a Sports-Related Invention
  5. University of Connecticut School of Engineering Certificate entitling Damian to an Early College Experience Course of his Choosing
  6. An invitation to attend the National Invention Convention, which is being organized by the STEMIE Coalition
 
Damian's invention convention awards
 
We could not be more proud of the time, energy, and effort that Damian put into building, troubleshooting, and successfully presenting S.T.A.T.S. His success at the Connecticut Invention Convention is a representation of the continued effort and energy that we are putting into STEAM as a school in order to open more doors for students and inventors like Damian to succeed at IMS and beyond. Until the National Invention Convention!