- Student Spotlight
Sylvia G. '19 Receives Patent Approval for Portable Water Filtration System
Sylvia received a Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the Portable Personal Water Filtration System, Non-Provisional Patent Appl. #14/951,477. The patent examiner found that "the prior art of record fails to teach or fairly suggest the combination of limitations" recited in Sylvia's claim, and her patent will be issued.
Sylvia G. 19 spent the summer after 8th grade developing a method for individual water filtration of contaminants, pesticides, toxins, and disease causing microorganisms. She was inspired to develop the portable filtration system after a family friend shared a story about his vacation in Mexico, during which he drank only bottled water. After drinking a glass of soda with just three ice cubes in it however, he became very ill. "I began thinking of ways to solve this problem," said Sylvia. She also realized that her filter system could have global implications. "I realized that if I could create a comprehensive water filtration method, it could be used beyond leisure travel. It could directly affect people who live in places that don't have viable, natural drinking water sources."
Sylvia researched the water filtration methods currently on the market and found that there were not many options. She came up with preliminary drawings of a straw housing unit that would partially treat water before entering the straw. Sylvia's design utilizes solar power and a configuration of filters and sieves in a straw housing unit. On the outside of the system, there is a solar panel that activates a UV light that kills living microorganisms and bacteria. Sylvia chose to design a solar powered system, rather than battery operated, so the straw could be used in remote places without requiring replacement batteries. Among other features, the system also contains charcoal and carbon filters to eliminate pesticides and herbicides and an iodine-treated sieve to filter out arsenic.
With the help of a lawyer found through LegalZoom, Sylvia started the process of filing for a patent at the beginning of her 9th grade year. After waiting a full year, she recently received a Notice of Allowance of her patent application. "It was such an investment of time, and I feel passionately that it can help so many people." Sylvia is developing a one-for-one business plan, which means that for every leisure traveler that buys a portable filter straw, she would like to donate a straw to communities with limited drinking water sources.
With the patent application process successfully behind her, this year Sylvia started the Marlborough club "Patent Pending," to share her experience with her classmates. "My plan with the club is to introduce students to the patent filing process, and also discuss innovation, entrepreneurship, and the philanthropic aspects of developing products and solutions. I also want to challenge stereotypes," she. "There are false stereotypes that girls don't work well together, and that we are not innovators and team players. I personally like being in the Marlborough community because it is female driven. That is very empowering. I feel like if I were not at Marlborough, I may not have had the confidence to pursue my idea. Being in such a supportive community really helped me go after it."
For more information about the Portable Personal Water Filtration System and the Patent Pending club, please click here to contact Sylvia.