Gulliver Prep junior Lauren Lugones is part of the Gulliver engineering program. She’s worked on Project GEM (Generating Electricity Through Motion). The students worked on putting an electrical generator on a bicycle. This project is to help people in third world countries such as Haiti.
“After they bike around to go to work, they can unplug the device at night and use it for light,” she says. “They use their phones for banking.
They don’t have enough power to charge their phone. They often have to travel 10 kilometers to charge their phones.”
One of the constraints of the project was to make the generator lightweight enough that it doesn’t affect the balance of the biker.
“The weight should be evenly centered,” she says. “The storage would be in the triangle part.”
The Gulliver students made a mock-up of the bike and went on to acquire a patent pending on the device. They showed the device in April at the Spirit of Innovation Challenge at the Kennedy Space Center and were chosen finalists in the event.
“Next we are going to build an actual prototype so we can help developing countries,” she says.
The generator is small enough to fit in the bike’s water bottle bracket.
The bike is just one of the projects engineering students have worked on. They have numerous projects to help people around the world, including a water system that has been sent to developing countries.
One of the reasons they were looking at building the generator on a bike is because in some parts of the world, bikes are an important mode of transportation.
“In Kenya, about 49 percent of the population do have bikes,” she says.
Lugones has been in the engineering program since seventh grade. She’s also participated in robotics competitions. The competitions also require community outreach.
“Last year we brought in kids from a school in Overtown, the Young Men’s Prep,” she says. “They have both a middle school and a high school.”
Gulliver participates in First Robotics competitions, which encourages them to reach out to other rookie teams. The robots are different from Battle Bots, which are fighting robots.
“We don’t do Battle Bots anymore,” she says.
For competition, the robots had to be able to open doors, climb a rock wall or barriers.
This school year, Gulliver placed twelfth out of 64 teams at a competition in Orlando.
Lugones plays defensive specialist on the Gulliver volleyball team. Last school year, the team made it to regional playoffs but this year was disappointing, losing in the semi-final round at districts.
She expects her senior season to be better. While they are losing seniors to graduation, she says there are younger players coming in who are quite good.
Because she’s considering a career in biomedical engineering, Lugones is also in the Gulliver biomedical program. She’s also in the biomedical club known as the Health Educated Awareness Leaders (HEAL).
She helps organize blood drives at Gulliver and she often goes to the Academy to tutor the younger students.
“We organize the Gulliver team for the diabetes walk and the breast cancer walk.
Once school begins again, Lugones will begin her college application process. She’s looking specifically at colleges in the Washington, D.C. area.
“I’ve always seen so many opportunities in DC in jobs and I’ve always, since I was little, liked DC,” she says.
She will apply to American, Georgetown and George Washington University for either biomedical or mechanical engineering.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld