Gardner Edgerton High School engineering students designed the Lever Action Box Builder, or LABB, to assist one person, but millions of people could benefit from it.
Five students showed off their creation during a practice run for their parents at GEHS Feb. 4. The finished product, a contraption that assists in the assembly of boxes, was the work of 15 GEHS students. It will be presented to judges at the National Engineering Design Challenge (NEDC) in Washington, D.C. next week.
David Kling, GEHS teacher and advisor to the group, said the engineering squad has a good chance at winning the competition.
“There have been some real highs in this group,” Kling told parents Monday night. “…We feel like we have a really good product.”
LABB was months in the making. The challenge asks students from across the country to design a product that would assist an individual with a physical disability in their work.
“In the last few years, we’ve had a hard time finding a candidate to make a product for,” Kling said.
The students found Michael at Cottonwood Group in Lawrence. At his job, Michael takes prefabricated flat boxes and folds and tapes them.
But it’s a difficult task for Micheal, who has the limited use of his right hand due to cerebral palsy.
GEHS students mimicked Michael’s task using one hand behind their back, and then they brainstormed what they could build to make the task easier.
They hoped to build something simple, multi-functional and inexpensive, one student told parents Monday night.
“LABB needed to be easy to use and economically viable,” she said.
The device uses a lever to prop open the box and fold it closed, allowing Michael to use a tape roll to seal it shut. LABB costs less than $15 to produce.
“The market extends far beyond its original intent,” another student told the make-shift audience.
During a first round of competition, GEHS’ team submitted its preliminary designs to judges. They then created a prototype and a professional report. GEHS is one of a handful of teams that will compete in-person at the national event next week.
Students have been working almost around the clock, including working on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, to finalize the product and the presentation they’ll give to judges.
“We feel like we have a really good product,” Kling said.
The GEHS team departs for D.C. on Valentine’s Day. They’ll have 10-minutes to wow a panel of judges.
They’ll also take questions from engineers, business people and people who work with the
Gardner Edgerton High School teams have had success at national challenge in the past, placing in the top five nationally seven times and winning the national championship in 2007.