Patapsco Middle School; Ellicott City, Md.
Team Members: Nicole Bulgarino, Ngoc-Tien Doan, Lauren Cho and Tien Doan (Team Advisor)
Team “SAVETHEPLANET” conducted a survey that showed 78 percent of people spend over an hour at a time on the computer, an unhealthy amount of time without breaks. To help solve this problem, the students learned basic electronics and soldering techniques to design and build a prototype that would alert the user to take regular breaks from the computer. The prototype design consists of three main components - two force sensors, an FET switch and a timer. When more than 20 pounds are placed on the sensors, the switch turns on and activates the timer. If used as intended, the cushion beeps and alerts the person sitting on it to take a break every hour, alleviating eye strain and backaches. As many people in the students’ community and all over the world use computers on a daily basis, there is a tremendous market for a device such as this.