Andrew Heafitz, an MIT graduate student, has been selected as the recipient of the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT student prize for inventiveness. Heafitz, a 32-year-old doctoral candidate in Mechanical Engineering, invented a low-cost kerosene-liquid oxygen rocket engine with a solar-car motor booster as part of his master's thesis. The engine will likely become the basis of a rocket launched by MIT. He currently is working on an aerial surveillance camera the size of a soda can that will be tested by the Army and further developed by his start-up TacShot.
The Lemelson prizes were established by Jerome Lemelson, a controversial inventor who filed several patent infringement suits in his lifetime against auto manufacturers, semiconductor makers and others.