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EurekaFest - Lemelson-MIT, Museum of Science Celebrate Inventing

July 16, 2013

In June 2013, during the 7th annual Lemelson-MIT EurekaFest™ Duck 'N' Hover event at the Museum of Science, Boston, more than 270 high school students from across the country, and from Beijing, China, competed to design, build, and test a wind-powered device able to hover three stories in the air and carry the greatest number of rubber ducks. Each team had to incorporate a "mystery item" into their design. The International Duck 'N' Hover challenge, a partnership between Lemelson-MIT and the Museum, capped a multi-day celebration of engineering and invention.

The Lemelson-MIT Program inspires invention among young people by offering grants up to $10,000 to enable students, their teachers, and mentors to create solutions to real-world problems. The winning teams of high school students presented their inventions at MIT during the week.

On the last day, 30 teams of randomly matched young people and mentors -- from graduate students to working engineers -- joined forces with Museum volunteers and staff in the duck challenge. The day culminated in hundreds of ducks hovering 30 feet in the air, then dropping -- some parachuting gracefully, others glowing -- to the floor. The winner overall (photo on right) was The Emerald League, led by mentor Eitan Glinert, an MIT alumnus and founder of local video game studio Firehose Games. The team kept 42 rubber ducks in the air.

Other awards included "Best Use of Duct Tape," "Best Team Spirit," "Best Use of Mystery Item," "Most Spectacular Failure," and "Most Efficient Design." Museum visitors also met inventors from Continuum, a global innovation and design consultancy, and joined in hands-on design challenges created by the Museum -- from Soaring Satellites and Slick Sails to Whirling Windmills.

EurekaFest also honored the 2013 winners of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability, and the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prizes at MIT. The Lemelson-MIT Awards honor established and rising inventors for their ingenuity, creativity and contribution to innovation. The Museum's hosting of the EurekaFest event is one of the National Center for Technological Literacy®'s informal STEM education activities.

The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500