Kids invent fire alert for deaf

Last updated 05:00 11/06/2014
Olivia Langford-Lee
YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS: Fourteen-year-old students Courtney Powell, Cailey Dayu and Dylan Townsend from Mission Heights Junior College, are in the United States for the Future Problem Solving International Conference.
Project alert
Olivia Langford-Lee
DISPLAY BOARD: Project Alert’s display board has been dismantled and flown to the United States to be put on display at Iowa State University.

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Three innovative young Kiwis who invented a device to help deaf people escape fires are showing it off in the United States.

Courtney Powell, Cailey Dayu and Dylan Townsend from Auckland created Project Alert after discovering surveys showing a lack of reliable evacuation systems for the deaf.

Their device vibrates when an alarm is activated - alerting its wearer to the danger.

The friends are representing New Zealand during the Future Problem Solving International Conference at Iowa State University. The Mission Heights Junior College pupils won the New Zealand round of the competition and will now exhibit their device to 3000 students from more than 20 countries.

Courtney says the small plastic gadget can be activated in two ways.

"One is through a switch and the second through sound recognition - when the alarm goes off the device will activate itself," she says.

The three students left last week and are in the US for 10 days.

The product is on display at the conference and the team will also take part in a 30-minute interview with the judges.

"We needed to raise $5000 each to get there, we did lots of fundraising and had some generous sponsors," Cailey says.

Mission Heights Junior College has 14 deaf students.

The school team aims to have every one of those students wearing one of its devices by the end of the year.

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- Eastern Courier

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