East Engineering Students Aim to Save Lives


West Virginia Daily News

GEHS InvenTeam at the West Virginia State Capitol.

Myrna Hamilton, Staff Writer

What is the InvenTeam? The InvenTeam is a Greenbrier East engineering class that each year develops an invention with the dual goals of helping the community and getting grants and scholarships to further their progress. The leader of this team is engineering teacher Kevin Warfield, and its members are Evan Vaughan, Evan Vogelsong, Ian Hamilton, Gabe Coleman, Amber Conley, Jake McGilvray, Nevaeh Wooding, and Ian Morrison (seniors); Abby Warfield, Gabe Dowdy, Sam Totten, and Cole Snyder (juniors); sophomores Kendra Culyer, Cam Little, and Nate Smith (sophomores); and freshmen Delaney Hamrick and Olivia Warfield.

This year, the team decided to invent a cave tracker for those who go spelunking. Team members describe the device, called the Digital Junction Tracker (DJT), as leaving signals like a breadcrumb trail to prevent cavers from getting lost. The tracker also has an emergency SOS button which sends an alert meaning the user is in danger or needs urgent help from outside responders. According to Outside Magazine, 1,356 people have fallen victims to caves 28-year study period, including and 81 fatalities (84% of them males). The DJT could drastically change these statistics for the better.

InvenTeam member Ian Hamilton (my brother), describes the invention as “a breadcrumb trail of micro bits that give off signals, and the signals are able to bounce off each other and show you the way back. It is a very specific invention that would definitely help the targeted audience,” says Hamilton, referring to a cohort that includes a fair number of cave enthusiasts here in our Appalachian Mountains. “It’s been a little difficult to adapt to as I am not the best at coding, but it’s still fun.”

The InvenTeam is composed of a group of students with special abilities, bright minds, and ideas that make a difference. After all, creating a potentially life-saving invention while still in high school is amazing! The team expects to have a DJT prototype up and running by June, and hopefully a full working model sometime after that.

“I think since the team is so young the invention could go very far, potentially to a patent,” Hamilton said.