Ohio PLTW Students Develop Child-Saving Invention

On November 14th, Michael Dodrill and Leaf Holland, seniors in the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program through West-Shore Career Technical District, showcased their child-saving invention at the PLTW Fall Conference in Sandusky, Ohio. Their invention, the Alarmom Child Guardian System (CGS) addresses the second-leading cause of vehicle-related child fatalities: child endangerment. “Every nine days a child dies from being trapped in a car. When we discovered the magnitude of this occurrence from www.kidsincars.org, we wanted to see if we could help prevent this from happening again,” said Leaf of the patent-pending product.

The Alarmom CGS detects a prolonged absence of an adult in an automobile with a child still in a car seat using two weight sensors similar to the seat-belt sensor currently equipped in many cars. As Mike explains it technically, “The Alarmom CGS is powered by a Parallax microcontroller that receives and interprets signals from the system’s weight sensors. The system then sets off the vehicle’s car alarm at a predetermined length of time alerting everyone within earshot to an issue with the vehicle.” “We thought through several different solutions, but then decided to use the weight technology already used in cars. Now, we are working to add a heartbeat sensor for additional detection,” stated Leaf.

West Shore’s PLTW teachers, Ed Holmok and Bob Sedlak, submitted the project to the PLTW conference committee for the opportunity for their students to present their invention at the conference. This is an annual meeting for approximately 320 PLTW teachers, counselors, administrators, business and industry leaders throughout Ohio. The West Shore students’ invention was selected with two other projects to present during the conference luncheon. They also had the opportunity to display their invention before and after their presentation. Leaf and Mike prepared a giant display-board and set up their invention to demo their technology. After their presentation, a representative from American Honda Motors approached the students to tell them he is taking their idea back to his management at Honda. Coming from an industry professional, this was a great endorsement of their work. They are anxious to see what comes of this.

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