How Three High Schoolers Won EAA’s Founder’s Innovation Prize

How Three High Schoolers Won EAA’s Founder’s Innovation Prize

October 17, 2019 4 By Ronny Jaskolski


(soft music) – [Narrator] The Founder’s Innovation Prize, sponsored by Airbus, seeks new solutions to prevent loss of control accidents. Five contestants present their ideas to a panel of judges at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the hub of aviation innovation, for a chance to win $25,000. 2017’s winners proved a great idea can come from anyone, from any walk of life. – [Judge] The decision has been made by the judges. The Remora System from Thomas Baron, Maxwell Lord, and Justin Zhou. Congratulations. – Way to go guys. – Winning was very surreal. We were hoping for some money. We were thinking, maybe if we got $5,000, we would be able to fund development for another six months or something like that. But we ended up winning, which was really great because that might pave the way for us to get all the way to full production. – We also met the other finalists who were all really interesting. They were like two university researchers and then a jet pilot and an astronaut and then three high schoolers. – We never would’ve gotten the exposure we did without the Founder’s Innovation Prize. But now, with the resources we have, as a result of the Founder’s Innovation Prize, we can really start to make a difference for a much larger amount of people. – [Justin] The Remora System is basically a way for aviators to have a lot of situational knowledge even when they’re looking away from their instrument panel. So, this is an external sensor pod and it has two pitot-static system in it. One going straight on, to measure air speed. And one angled down so we can compare the two and measure angle of attack. And then inside, we have a micro computer in the form of an arduino right now. And a battery and that just bluetooth’s to this head mounted display. This is made by a company called Vufine. You basically wear it, sort of like this. You can wear it in any corner of the vision you want. And it basically just sits in the corner of your vision and tells you what your air speed and angle of attack are, even when you’re looking away from the instrument panel. – [Thomas] Most fatal stall-spin accidents happen when you’re not looking at the avionics panel, so we realized that the two things that you can’t see, is air speed and angle of attack. And, I think our goal, at the end of the day, is to fix that problem. Is to make sure that pilots know what they’re doing at all times. – Thomas, Max, and Justin really epitomize what The Founder’s Innovation Prize is all about. Not only was it a good idea, but it was really well presented and really well thought out. And when we look at innovation, it isn’t just an idea. It’s how do you take that idea and turn it into something that’s viable? And then, how do you take that viable idea and turn it into a product? And, for us at Airbus, we realize that in aviation, it’s either innovate or die. And those three gentlemen, by far, knocked it out of the park when it came to how to test an idea and how to develop it into something that works. (applause) – Loss of control, it’s a pretty complex problem. And so, the thing that strikes us the most, is when the idea and the concept development shows a recognition on their part that they really studied the problem. They recognized the magnitude of it and they’re trying to address as much of it as possible. The three kids from high school took it away. They were just hugely inspiring. – The Founder’s Innovation Prize has been really critical to propelling Remora Systems to where it is now. And, I personally think, that it’s a great thing that EAA does. It takes these innovations to a place where they can actually be developed. (soft, upbeat music) – [Max] If our device can keep pilots more apprised of their data, we’ve definitely succeeded, but there’s always room to improve. So, we’re continuing to develop the Remora System, even after we push our first version to market. – So the prize itself, when we look at why would you want to be a part of this? It’s a really interesting way to take your idea and throw it out into a showcase of, basically, your peer group to see what they think of it. We also look at it as, it’s our responsibility to make what we do safer and this prize allows you an opportunity to do that in a more formal way. And actually come up with something that we can all, hopefully apply to our aircraft in the future, thus ensuring the safety of flight continues to improve. (applause)