Greyson McCluskey has an idea for a gadget he thinks might save the lives of infants one day.
He drew renderings for a contraption he calls the "Baby Safe Rider," a device designed to prevent infant fatalities by alerting parents or passersby of a baby left in a locked car by accident. And he may be on to something.
Greyson, 15, a sophomore at Metrolina Christian Academy, entered the nationwide "Wouldnt It Be Cool If..." contest and he was notified last week that his idea landed him a spot as a finalist in the competition.
Greysons invention competed against 1,100 others nationwide in the contest, which is hosted by Time Warner Cables Connect a Million Minds and i.am FIRST, founded by Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am. Connect A Million Minds is TWCs five-year, $100 million philanthropic initiative to get students excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
For the final round of the competition, Greyson will join three other finalists in St. Louis on Wednesday. There, contestants will pitch their ideas live to will.i.am and noted inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen at the FIRST Robotics Championship. The grand prize winner could have the idea developed by innovation firm Fahrenheit 212.
More than 1,000 audience members will be present to listen to presentations.
Im not nervous about the people; Im just nervous Im going to mess up, Greyson said, laughing.
Youth ages 13 through 15 entered the contest by submitting an invention idea online and discussing how math and science can make the invention a possibility. Ideas were submitted by individuals or teams of two or three. The public voted online, and those vote totals will be used as a judging criterion.
I had been watching Shark Tank, and I really wanted to come up with an invention idea of my own, Greyson said. Then my mom told me about the Wouldnt It Be Cool contest, so I entered.
Greysons invention will compete against ideas including a bone analyzer kit, an electronic music stand that displays sheet music and vitamin-laced coffee filters.
As for his idea, Greyson explains the Baby Safe Rider would be made of a pressure-sensitive matting designed to fit into most car seats. The insert would rest under the infants legs and spine to monitor body temperature. The device would be connected to a GPS transmitter that displays temperature, monitors battery life and has speakers and warning lights.
If an infants temperature elevates, Greyson said a warning light flashes, a high-frequency sound is emitted for passersby to hear, and parents are notified via text message. When temperatures become dangerously high, the GPS transmitter sends the vehicles coordinates to authorities so the child can be saved.
With a child, its body can heat up to fatal temperatures in minutes, he said.
Greyson said he developed the idea following the birth of his cousin. He also volunteers at the nursery at church, so he often works with infants and toddlers.
Once he developed the idea, he said he spent most of the next day researching heat strokes and the bodys thermoregulatory systems which help the body maintain a consistent internal temperature.
In his contest submission, Greyson explains, Because an adults thermoregulatory system is more efficient than that of children, infants and toddlers body temperatures can increase three to five times faster (than adults).
His mother, Hanan McCluskey, said she immediately loved the idea behind the Baby Safe Rider.
Since (Greyson) was little, he has always told us be safe before we go driving, McCluskey said. So I feel like its meant to be that he is a finalist because its in his heart.
All my life, Ive always drawn things that I thought were interesting, but I never thought to produce them until now, Greyson said.
In preparation for the upcoming presentation, Greyson said each contestant is assigned a training coach to meet with on Skype. He was also filmed by NY1, Time Warner Cables New York City news channel. The station visited Greyson at his Indian Trail home on April 18 to create a 90-second video to be shown before he presents his idea in St. Louis.
Sitting in the living room of his home with the camera lights on, Greyson said, My hope is that I can save at least one life because one life is just as significant as a million lives.