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Beaverton students' life-saving hardhat gets national attention

The group from Beaverton is among 20 semi-finalists out of 38,000 teams worldwide competing in First Lego League's STEM program.

BEAVERTON, Ore. — The Hardhat Hackers are a group of five students from Beaverton that are doing some really good work despite the nefarious name. 

The team of Ronan Cook, Isaac Lutz, David Pearson, Kate Pearson and Tommy Pearson are known for the hard hats they wear, but it’s the brains beneath that have been getting some big recognition.

Credit: Hardhat Hackers

“It monitors humidity, temperature, pressure and has a gyro inside to detect if the worker has fallen down or stopped moving,” said David about the Hackers’ project. They are competing for the First Lego League’s Global Innovation Award, and out of 38,000 teams around the world, they are among 20 semifinalists. 

“Just how to work as a team, that is a very big thing they want to see in this competition,” said Ronan. The particular competition doesn’t involve Legos, but it gives kids ages 4 to 16 a hands-on learning experience in the world of STEM.

What’s so special about their project? The Hardhat Hackers put their heads together to create a hard hat that is biometric. “And runs it through an algorithm we made that bases off the outer heat temperature and runs it through an algorithm to see how long before a worker has heat stroke,” Isaac said.

Credit: Hardhat Hackers

The idea came after the team visited a construction site and learned about the importance of on-site safety and ways to improve it. 

“When we heard that, we started looking deeper at what was a way to fix that,” Isaac said.

A sensor inside the hat’s shell can alert a supervisor if a worker is overheated at a job site. 

It’s technology they can see being implemented in other fields, like firefighting. If they win the FLL Global Innovation Award, they’ll get $20,000 to pursue their idea. Second or third place would net them $5,000. 

Whether or not they win is beside the point, they’re all proud to help save lives with a hard hat that’s gone from dream to reality.

“If this goes on, it could be patented,” Isaac said. “To have that at 14 is insane!”

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