Prize Invention From the N.C. Catalyst InvenTeam

Catalyst InvenTeam

Photo Courtesy of Lemelson-MIT Program Flickr

Catalyst InvenTeam, located at the Science House at North Carolina State University, is a program designed to create a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce that includes all learners. It’s currently comprised of 24 high school students with disabilities from 22 high schools across North Carolina. Last year, 12 of those students participated in the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam competition with their invention, a mat that screens for lameness in dairy cows with an app to alert farmers which cows were impacted .

Catalyst participants have worked closely with agricultural engineering, electrical engineering, animal science and veterinary programs at NC State. During their field research, the students were impressed with how hard farmers worked and wanted to help them, which helped lead to their invention.

This team won the Lemelson-MIT National Competition and was one of only 15 teams nationwide to win a $10,000 grant from MIT to build their invention. The team also won the Technical Award during their presentation at MIT. The team is continuing to refine its invention for market and has been invited to the U.S. Patent Office this year.

North Carolina middle and high school students who want to learn more about the program can visit; or, contact Joann Blumenfeld, program director, at

– Cara Sanders

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