Two Heartland teens design brake light system for cars in national contest

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Cody Bunger and his younger brother, Colby Bunger are now one of the top five finalists in the nation for the TI Codes Contest.

The brothers are from Cape Girardeau County and entered in a nationwide challenge to develop a solution using TI education technology that helps improve daily lives.

The brothers came up with the idea to enhance a braking system on cars to alert other drivers how fast they are braking.

"If someone in front of you needs to stop immediately and if they're one of those people that are constantly pushing their brake, you're not going to be able to tell that they're slamming on their brake," Cody explained. "You're going to plow right into them."

The students can basically build anything they wanted but need to use their Texas Instruments (TI) Graphing Calculators and the TI-Innovatory which is best known as a palm-sized box with a built-in microcontroller that plugs into the calculator.

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These items allow students to imagine, design and test creative solutions.

The brothers built took the calculator, bought a car and then hooked them all together to showcase how the brake system works.

"There's a little blue knob here which is called a potentiometer," Cody explained as he pointed to their invention. "There's an electric flowing through here and this hub reads it. Depending on the numbers we get on the calculator, different lights turn on."

The car has ten lights on the back. Five on each side of the car. This alerts the driver behind them visually see how hard the driver is braking.

"All the safety features nowadays protect the driver, alert the driver," Cody said. "Nothing really alerts other people to what you're doing. I mean we have the horn but that can really do so much."

"I think it's a good idea," Colby said. "I think it will help many people know when the person in front of you is stopping really hard versus when they are lightly pushing their brake."

Cody first found out about this contest when he was attending school at Notre Dame.

"I found out about it because it was in my advanced physics class and it was extra credit," Cody stated.

For Colby, he was interested in joining his brother due to his interest in robotics and programming.

"That got me interested in it," Colby said. "I just wanted to see how it went."

Their team name is called "Going for Brake."

They are up against some tough competition though with teams from various parts of the United States.

"It's fairly tough," Colby said. "It is not easy."

Team "Going for Brake" is looking to win the competition to win a variety of prizes including calculators and shirts.

How it works is anyone can vote for them or the other teams by going to the contest's website here.

Anyone can vote and they can vote once a day, every day until the contest ends on June 10th at midnight.

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