Scott Soifer of North Shore Hebrew Academy High School is the only yeshiva student among the 300 semifinalists from across the country to be named a scholar in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
His submission, The Heat Free Car: Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention System (Second-Generation Prototype), focuses on his now-patented invention, the Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention System (VHPS).
Soifer is also one of just six people accepted into the National Gallery for America’s Young Inventors, part of the National Museum of Education, this year. He was invited to apply after being a winner at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).
Last term, Soifer won first place at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair (LISEF) and fourth place at ISEF when he presented the prototype and research paper on this device.
In ninth grade when Soifer was doing invention research by looking for problems to solve, he discovered that many children, pets and elderly had died or suffered serious injuries from being left in overheated vehicles. He then learned that only reminder systems existed, but by the time they sent notifications it could be too late.
Using his electrical and mechanical engineering skills, Soifer developed a prototype that connects to a car’s electrical system via the use of a car key fob to turn the mechanism on. The device, which is installed under the steering wheel, would then monitor the temperature inside the vehicle as well as the carbon-dioxide level (CO2) exhaled. Once an unsafe level is reached, Soifer’s invention automatically turns on the engine and air conditioning to cool and aerate the car. This is the version he presented in competition in his sophomore year.
He then decided to improve the appliance, creating the second, much smaller, generation that is the award-winning patented system. The onboard diagnostic port device is turned on automatically via a Raspberry Pi microcomputer built into the gadget. Soifer also developed an app that sends a notification to the owner’s phone and automatically contacts the police about the conditions within the vehicle. In addition to the previous features of temperature and CO2 breath detection, he also added a feature that detects the level of carbon monoxide to prevent poisoning in the case of a clogged tailpipe or leaving an engine running in a closed space, such as a garage.
Soifer’s long-term goal for his invention is that it would be made mandatory in all new cars worldwide.
In his spare time, the senior enjoys long-distance biking, snowboarding, skiing, baseball and golf, and is a member of the North Shore Varsity Baseball Team. He also enjoys tinkering in the foldaway woodworking shop he built in his parents’ garage, working in the electronics lab he set up in the laundry room and using the three monitors and 3-D printer in his bedroom. He attributes his love of robotics, engineering and woodworking to his aeronautical engineer grandfather. Together, they built a bike ramp for tricks and a hovercraft. He considers himself both a creative and abstract thinker.