COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Two Kalamazoo-area sixth-graders are developing a winter hat that captures energy from the sun and then uses that energy to help the homeless keep warm.
Samsung recently named the students at Comstock STEM Academy the “Solve for Tomorrow” winners for Michigan. The school won a $20,000 prize package.
Comstock STEM students Brady Caswell and Crosby Taylor put their heads together to invent the rechargeable heated stocking cap.
“Well, we were thinking of ways to keep warm and we thought of a coat, but that was already invented by many other people, and no one had done a hat yet,” Crosby explained.
You could say the invention started in the heart, even though it covers the head.
“We have this to help homeless people because they’re cold during the winter and most heat loss is through the head that we’ve studied,” Crosby said.
“We took apart a toy to see kind of how the battery worked and we found this very small battery inside of the toy,” Brady added. “So that would work when there’s not any sun out.”
The goal is to have the heating element in the hat provide continuous warmth for up to 12 hours. A solar panel would provide the needed energy.
“Right now, we’re just producing it by ourselves,” Crosby said. “We’re just making them, hooking them up, wiring them.”
“To hear sixth-graders say they’re excited about not just what they’re doing, but what they’re going to do in the world, and doing something they really feel connected to is pretty awesome,” said Comstock STEM Academy Director Chris Chopp.
“It would be pretty hard being homeless, and we want to make it be as helpful to them as we can,” Crosby said.
Next, the two students will work on a project video that will be submitted to move on to the next round of the Samsung competition. Online voters will select 10 of the 50 state winners and each will earn a $50,000 prize package for their school.