Paul Hyman, who volunteers as a local firefighter, is familiar with the difficulty firefighters face trying to see clearly in smoke-filled buildings. His inventions provided firefighters better equipment in adverse conditions–and provided the 17-year-old with a full college scholarship.
After becoming disoriented by smoke and flames in emergency situations, Hyman invented a miniature infrared camera that fits inside firefighters’ masks and allow them to see even through thick smoke and flames. He also invented a sensor which prevents a common cause of house fires by detecting when the lint in a clothes dryer is in danger of catching fire, and pre-emptively releasing carbon dioxide to snuff it out.
Firefighting experts and equipment manufacturers have already taken an interest in his work, and next year he will be running his own fire-safety product company out of his dorm room.
He’s already found his biggest investor: his college. As part of a national award for teenage inventors, Clarkson University has offered him a full-ride scholarship along with a chance to further develop his fire-safety product line in the school’s business “Incubator” program, where he will have an office and access to prototyping labs. In return, Hyman will give his college a ten-percent equity share in his business, CNN reports.