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Kids invent JuiceBox to power tiny homes for homeless

Catlin Gabel High School student Solomon Olshin and others show off their invention, the JuiceBox, which is meat to help give power to tiny homes for the homeless. (KATU Photo)

The InvenTeam of Catlin Gabel is using its skills in the classroom to help give power to those most in need – through its JuiceBox.

The box is not the kind that you pack in your kids’ lunch. Instead, “juice” is the energy kind.

The team spent the past few months creating and installing portable energy sources to be used in pod houses.

“These pods are completely off the grid. So to give people power and light, so they can be independent and remain connected to the community, we built JuiceBox,” said student Robin Attey. “So it’s a single solution. It collects energy from solar panels, sort of on the roof or the side of the pod, and then it stores it actually in an old battery from old robotics teams.”

Pod houses like those in the Hazelnut Grove community give previously houseless people a roof over their heads.

“The idea was to provide them with a system that enabled them to see at night and electricity to charge their devices, to remain engaged in their community and remain part of society,” said student Solomon Olshin.

The Catlin InvenTeam came up with the concept design implementation and outreach for the project.

“We have currently installed about 20 of them at Hazelnut Gove and have plans to install them in Argyle Village,” Olshin said.

The JuiceBox invention recently won a competition and a $10,000 prize. The kids turned that money around to build 30 more JuiceBoxes.

“Being able to use our skills that we learn in school to make something that actually helps people has been empowering for us and it’s made me want to continue further and do more projects like JuiceBox and help more people,” said student Tyler Nguyen.

The kids got the project started, but would one day like it to be self-sustaining.

“Our ultimate goal is to actually establish sort of a workspace within Hazelnut Grove or similar communities so that they could manufacture JuiceBoxes … so they can build them themselves for other previously houseless communities,” said Attey.

The students are now competing in the second round of the competition and could win $30,000.

“As a high schooler you don’t get many opportunities to do this,” said student Layton Rosenfeld. “I can change the world in a sense, and we can do it together. It’s pretty awesome.”

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