AP Photo/Kevin Martin


Planet Green and the Lemelson Foundation of Oregon are proud to present to you a series of posts dedicated to the talented youth of today who are working on a brighter future with innovative inventions.

The Lemelson-MIT Program has been fostering the minds of young outstanding inventors for 14 years, by encouraging their students to engage in the exploration of new solutions to 'real-world' problems. Such problems that have been looked at in the past have ranged anywhere from atmospheric CO2 emissions to harvesting coconuts in Indonesia.

Every year the school of engineering at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) hosts EurekaFest, which is a celebration of intelligent inventions designed by tomorrows leaders of technology. The student teams participating come from all over the US, and are looking at problems happening all over the world.

The entire event is funded by the Lemelson Foundation, and held during the summer. This past fest was held from June 25th through the 28th at the MIT school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is inspiring to realize that many of the inventions featured are just a glimpse at some of the great ideas that can come from the fresh minds of today's youth.

Such mean/green inventions on display this year included:

- Electric motorcycle with compressible "crush zones" for urban commuter safety

This year, Saint Thomas Academy, located in Mendota Heights, looked at a safer/better electric motorcycle that would be all of economical, convenient, environmentally friendly, and safe for the average urban commuter.

The finished design had the capacity to travel 50 miles on one three hour charger (110 Volt), and featured multiple crush zones designed to take some of the initial impact of a collision away from the driver, reducing injury.

- Electric all-terrain multi-purpose lifting machine

The Brillion High School InvenTeam from Brillion, Wisconsin, invented an all-terrain, electric-powered, multipurpose lifting machine, they called the ?E-Z Lift?. This environmentally friendly industrial grade vehicle would be right at home on a farm (manure), manufacturing plant (parts racks), landscaping project (rocks), or even in some of our own backyards (firewood).

It uses an electric-motor propulsion system, that enables the operator to do a variety of difficult jobs, including gathering, lifting, moving, or just plain dumping materials weighing up to 300 pounds. It features a balance shut off switch to keep it from tipping over in the event of an overload.

Other such inventions included a coconut tree climbing robot, antibiotic's enhancer, improved LCD screen, and affordable solar lighting. You're never too young to have a great idea, so don't forget to involve your kids in your families green decisions and activities. The habits you form today, just may follow through with the rest of their lives, and this is something that the fate of the planet is counting on.

This post was inspired by Episode 1 of Mean Green Machines.