MirmanX is a middle school startup accelerator that encourages Upper School students to tackle moonshot projects that have the potential to help a community in some meaningful, tangible way.
Mirman School provides the material resources and professional guidance to support an idea from genesis to market, and our students have an opportunity to truly innovate by thinking big and doing amazing things!
Students retain 100% of their intellectual property and project funding is fully derived through donations to Mirman School.
Learn more about the program and peruse current and previous projects below.
- Evan F. (US3) is developing prototypes for renewable and sustainable energy sources. Associate cohort members are Russell F. and Aidan D. (US3).
- Brandon L. and Connor Y. (US2) are using coding languages React and Firebase to begin the development of their health and wellness app BetterDay. They recruited associate cohort member London M. (US2) to help develop a business and marketing plan.
- Eric Y. (US4) has started prototyping in the gaming and coding engine Unity to create his coding-instruction app for elementary schoolers, ANTS.
- Katherine S. and Isabel W. (US2) are working on their business plan for WAFE (an eco-friendly water filtration unit) to get an accurate handle of profit and costs. Robotics Coach Amanda Sullivan is working closely with the girls to develop their business plan before they get to their minimum viable product. Katherine and Isabel have procured several materials to develop a few filtration prototypes.
- Rishi G. (US2) has been very dedicated to completing his minimum viable product, which is centered on creating a non-profit organization. His business, called Feastible, connects restaurants with local communities who suffer from food insecurity.
- Dashiell Filus '11-'18, a member of the Year Three cohort, and now an alumnus of Mirman, spent additional months back on campus finishing his minimum viable product: a smart mechanical arm called Grasp to aid those with accessibility challenges. He completed his work at Mirman in February, and is now receiving support from the Makerspace Director at Oakwood, his new school. Despite his funding cycle coming to a close in December of 2018, Dashiel’s ambitious project continues and is testament to the spirit of our program.
Grasp — Dashiell F.
Dashiell is our first returning MirmanX pitch. After working on the RoboRival team for a year, Dash refined his idea for a robotic arm that attaches to a wheelchair to help users “grasp” out-of-reach objects. Dash’s unique innovation is a phone-motion control system, where users simply use their smartphone to align the arm’s built-in camera with an object, tap it, and the AI-powered arm does all the work of picking up the object, so it does not require the finesse of other robotic assistive technologies.
Money Manager — Shalen C.
Shalen wowed the Venture Board with his idea for an app that helps kids learn fiscal responsibility in partnership with parents. Parents set up a virtual pile of funding, and kids use the apps tools to track their spending, budget, save up for special items, and even apply for additional parental funding.
Fingergun — Jack D.
Jack seeks to make gun ownership safer. By inventing a modular biometric firearm holster, those who choose to carry and keep firearms in their homes and vehicles will rest easy knowing only authorized adult users of the weapon can gain access.
RoboRival: Zero to Roboticist in Six Months
When Sheila G. pitched her concept for RoboRival — an autonomous robot that would defend a soccer goal, enabling solo practice for aspiring athletes — she’d never written a line of code, nor soldered two wires together. Nevertheless, the Venture Board saw the potential of the product, as well as Sheila’s passion and drive.
Jeffery Flagg, our STEM Director, Sean Lueder, our Upper School Technology Specialist, and Director of Technology Michael Taggart worked weekly with Sheila on topics ranging from computer science to acoustic physics. She absorbed knowledge like a sponge, applying new discoveries to her first small prototype robot. By March, it was clear Sheila had internalized much of the skill knowledge necessary to make RoboRival a success, and we moved on to a larger robot chassis. Adding more sensors, this robot was able to move around a complicated environment without running into anything, while detecting objects and plotting an “intercept course,” the way a defender would on the soccer pitch.
Sheila's worked has not stopped. Her next and largest chassis is on its way, utilizing state-of-the-art laser rangefinding technology to create a virtual “map” of the environment for her robot to navigate.
MathBird: Making an App the Hard Way
August D. benefited from our advanced computer science curriculum before applying to MirmanX. He took the skills he developed in our Web Apps courses and set out to create a new kind of math app. Services like Wolfram Alpha will take your complex math homework and show you the solution step-by-step. However, for a diligent student like August, this was no way to truly learn the discipline of mathematics. He reasoned that a student could not be expected to learn well when given the answer. What’s more, giving the answer away robs the student of a sense of accomplishment. Still, students needed help with their math, so August arrived at the following middle-ground: provide strategic hints for a student as they attempt to solve the problem.
Using tech industry-standard technologies, August first built what’s known as an API — Application Programming Interface — that would take a typed math expression, parse it, and figure out what hint to return. That it takes only a sentence to describe this product belies the monumental effort and deep computer science work necessary to achieve it. August and fellow teammate Eli not only delved into college-level computer science, but interrogated the very nature of numbers to build a “parser” for math expressions. When can a plus sign follow a number? When can’t it? What about when a letter is next to a number? We don’t think much about these rules, but their software had to.
After the API was complete, August continued into the summer building the “frontend” of his app—the user-facing side. The result speaks for itself:
You can try it at mathbird.io.
August is not finished. Although he’s now a student at Geffen Academy, August continues his work on MathBird as part of their I-Track program. Chalk it up as a successful launch for a MirmanX startup.
Safer Streets: The Making of a Filmmaker
Sophie S. wanted to address the dangers of texting while driving. It seemed to her, and the Venture Board, that a YouTube documentary from a child’s perspective might be a powerful message.
Team Leader: Ben Volokh
RecogWare is Ben's facial recognition software concept that will "assist those with dementia or Alzheimer's recognize people they have forgotten. RecogWare can be downloaded onto phones and cameras without needing a Google Glasses-like platform." Watch Ben's pitch to learn more!
Team Leader: Sabina Yampolsky
Sabina's ambitious idea is to "make a more accurate and easier working tightening mechanism for a scoliosis brace, so that it can work more efficiently and require less people with scoliosis to have surgery." Watch Sabina's pitch to learn more!
A Different Pair of Eyes
Team Leaders: Turandot Shayegan and Mina Enayati-Uzeta
Turandot and Mina have suffered prejudice due to their Iranian heritage. Through their documentary film, A Different Pair of Eyes, the directors "want to show the world that Iranians can be judged as individuals, not just as a dangerous and terroristic community." Watch their pitch to learn more!