CAK team applies for patent on invention

Sandra ClarkOur Town Kids, West Knox

Students in STEM programs across Knox County are learning that science is fun. Science is the future, and the future is bright.


A middle school team from Christian Academy of Knoxville, the CAK Warriors, placed first in robot design/mechanical design at the Tennessee championship tournament in Cookeville. The win was based on its implementation of a unique slide-in attachment system.

Abram Oakes holds the team trophy.

It’s an invention so special that research showed it to be unique. CAK has applied for a U.S. Patent on behalf of the inventors. How often do middle school kids seek a patent? CAK coaches said it’s rare – about 1/10 of one percent of all applications.

Titled “Attachment System for Robotics and Power Tools,” the invention was made during the 2018-2019 Into Orbit season. The team belongs to AcrossFLL in the FIRST Lego League.

“The patent has been filed, so we are officially patent pending. There is no set timetable as to when it may become final. CAK will own the patent,” said coach Tim Rhyne. Terry Gibson is the other coach. Mentors were Marsha Rhyne, Sam Rhyne and Quinn Rhyne. The CAK faculty sponsor is Sandra Welshan.

Tim Rhyne explains: “The invention consists of coupling a motor-powered rotating drive shaft with tool attachments by sliding the tool mechanism containing an extension of the drive shaft onto it in a perpendicular direction. The two-part drive shaft transfers power based on a channel and rib coupling and is held in alignment by a jig system in the competition robot.

“While created for their FLL robot to perform missions, the team realized that this system could work for power tools in general. After patent searches by the team’s coaches revealed no prior art, a patent attorney working with the school was asked to check. When his search also did not find a prior invention, the school decided to apply for a patent on behalf of the inventors. The application was filed on June 9, 2020, and received U.S. Application No. 16/896,476.”

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