Written by: Catalina Zhao
Inventing is something many kids dream of. For a certain group of dedicated and creative students, this dream is a reality.
The InvenTeam, comprised of 11 students and led by captain junior Emily Wang, created the Cluck Bucket, a solar-powered egg incubator designed for developing nations. The group is currently developing a prototype of their product, which they will present next June at the Lemelson-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conference, the Eurekafest.
Through brainstorming and research, Wang came up with the idea of inventing a solar-powered egg incubator. Since developing nations do not have easily accessible electricity, international organizations donate chicken eggs to these off-the-grid communities to help them make a living. Wang realized that an incubator would optimize the hatching process for these areas.
The Cluck Bucket will have other benefits. “It will be donated to schools as an actual utensil for education, such as for clean energy curriculum,” Wang said. “Apart from money and nutrition, there are a lot of other benefits for the students. Statistics show that the egg hatching process can really benefit a community.”
The team identified areas in Uganda and China it would like to aid. To acheive this goal, Wang and other members of the InvenTeam constructed a proposal this summer to apply for the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Initiative Grant. Her team was selected as one of the top fifteen finalists in the nationwide competition and was later granted $10,000 to help build the Cluck Bucket. “We were very fortunate and happy to be chosen out of so many teams,” Wang said.
Wang organized three sub-teams, each responsible for developing one part of the Cluck Bucket. The general incubator team is in charge of computer-aided design, the egg rotator, moisture control and insulation. Some other students are working on perfecting the solar water heater. The third group, the microcontroller programming team, will write the code and make the wiring necessary in order to control the different tasks throughout the incubation period.
The team also has help from inventors and egg incubator companies to develop their new prototype. “We’re trying to find the balance between being innovative and having a working product,” junior Drew Bent, leader of the microcontroller programming team, said.
Through their work, the members are learning a lot about inventing and communication. “It’s fun, and it’s a really good experience,” Bent said. “We’re getting to experience the inventing process and how you go about documenting your work. We’re learning how to take different teenagers and make something out of their work. The team dynamic is a big part of it.”
Although the Cluck Bucket is still in its preliminary design stages, the team already has high hopes for it. “We feel we can make a positive difference,” Wang said. “We want to follow through with our ideas and monitor progress in the developing nations where the solar incubator is in use.”
Congress is optimistic about the invention’s future too. “I think it’s a good design, and if it’s produced cheaply enough, it can actually be used in third world countries and change a lot of people’s lives,” she said.
The InvenTeam is part of the Research and Science Invention club, which Wang founded in her sophomore year to give students the opportunity to develop their ideas about science and invention.
“Our goal is to provide more kids at our school with an opportunity to bring their ideas to the and design inventions or products,” Wang said.