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Eccles students use their imagination and ingenuity

Photo Credit: RAY HUGHEY - Six Eccles Elementary School students have created an app with very real-world applications.Leave it to the kids.

Six Eccles Elementary School students are taking to market a rescue app they invented for a Lego Robotics contest last year.

The iRescue app was developed by Zach and Connor Adams, Adam and Jacob Peterson, Jack Hayhurst and Cam Risch. They make up the Eccles Rockin’ Robots Lego League robotics team.

Parents Deanna Peterson, Bill Hayhurst, Karen Risch and Laurie Adams are the team mentors.

The youngsters came up with their rescue app for the 2013 First Lego contest. Following the contest theme of Nature’s Fury, they went looking for an idea to help people in a natural disaster.

They hit on using a smartphone app as a rescue tool, an app that would send out a beacon signal that would enable the user or searchers to find someone else’s beacon. Its search mode displays names of beacons in the area, signal strength and, if available, GPS location.

And since it uses cellular data, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, it could be used even when cellular networks were down or overloaded.

And when cell towers are available, the app sends your GPS location and a text message indicating you need help to your “safety circle” of family, close friends, etc.

If there is concern the missing person might be unconscious or immobilized, the beacon can be set off remotely by members of the safety circle. iRescue beeps or vibrates when this is done.

It also has an Amber Alert setting that silently triggers the beacon to help rescuers locate a missing child.

As part of the Lego First competition, they pitched their idea to various groups, agencies and businesses, Peterson said.

Their concept won praise and accolades from the Canby Fire District, Canby Police, Canby Telcom and the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association.

Their idea impressed Gene de Vorce, manager of information technology for Canby Telcom.

“This group of young kids had ideas I had never heard of and utilized technology in a way that just rocked,” he said.

“The idea of iRescue presented by the Rockin’ Robots group of kids is not just a great use of technology; it will save lives.

They have been told they could easily charge $2.50 to $4.99 for the iRescue app, Peterson said. But they are aiming for a 99-cent price in order to get iRescue on as many phones as possible.

With the new year, the kids and mentor parents created Rockin’ Robots iRescue LLC to develop iRescue. They applied for a trademark and a patent on the iRescue technology and enlisted two outside contractors for the technical aspects.

They also have an agreement with FEMA and the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to monitor and distribute wireless emergency alerts with iRescue.

They put their project on Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding platform. The iRescue Kickstarter campaign at ends Sept. 9. They have a website at and their Kickstarter page is at

They met initial funding goals and have completed an Android version of iRescue. Apple and Windows versions are being developed.

Hitting the $24,000 mark will allow them to start their full vision, including a curriculum for K-12 students and work with first responders to help educate children about natural disasters.

With $200,000, they could launch a nationwide campaign for iRescue in every school in the U.S.

A lot has happened since they started their project last fall.

“We thought it was just another year at Lego robotics,” Cam said.

It’s heady stuff. They might help save lives and maybe become famous in the process. There already have been nibbles from morning TV shows.

When they’re not being lifesaving entrepreneurs, they are still kids who like to hang out in the tree house at the Peterson place.

And with a new school year. Zach, Cam and Adam advance to the seventh grade at Baker Prairie Middle School. Connor will be in the fourth grade and Jack and Jacob in the fifth grade at Eccles.

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