STAMFORD, Conn. – June 7, 2018 – HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, presented the Smart Audio, Cool Cars Award to fifth-grader Mateo Torres at the K – 12 National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE) award ceremony.

With a mission to support STEM education in communities around the globe and aid technical skill develop for the next generation of inventors and engineers, HARMAN teamed up with The STEMIE Coalition, a nonprofit initiative focused on elevating K – 12 engineering and design programs to the national level and ensuring all students have access to invention and entrepreneurship education. The STEMIE Coalition launched the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo in 2016, as a way to provide students with a voice and platform to share their problem solving and critical thinking skills. During the nationwide competition, young inventors compete for honors on their creative solutions aimed at solving problems through invention and innovation.

Selected by a panel of HARMAN engineers and leaders, Mateo Torres was chosen from a group of four finalists to receive the Smart Audio, Cool Cars Award for his invention, the Hearing Buddy.

Mateo, a fifth grader from Watsonville, California, created the Hearing Buddy after noticing that his close friend was embarrassed to wear his hearing aids to school. The Hearing Buddy is a small figurine shaped like a lizard that camouflages the hearing aid by turning it into a fun accessory.

“Many kids who have disabilities don’t like to wear their hearing aids because they make them stand out from others and they could be bullied,” said Mateo. “The Hearing Buddy comes in sets, so hearing impaired children can give hearing buddies to all of their friends or family members to wear as a sign of support. It makes wearing a hearing aid fun for kids, boosts their self-confidence, and provides a way for them to build a support system at school.”

LaNeisha Gunn, who leads HARMAN’s University Relations Program, presented the Smart Audio, Cool Cars Award during a ceremony held at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan on June 1, 2018. In addition to certificates recognizing their innovative solutions, all four finalists were presented with premium JBL products.

“Mateo demonstrated incredible insight and ingenuity in creating Hearing Buddy, and we are excited to recognize his hard work in creating technology that makes our society more inclusive,” said Gunn. Progress begins with nurturing and empowering young people to think, explore and invent. HARMAN is extremely proud to support the Invention Convention, the STEMIE Coalition and salutes the teachers and families who are inspiring the next generation of inventors, engineers, and change-makers.”


The STEMIE Coalition is a global consortium of invention education stakeholder whose aim is to formalize project-based invention and entrepreneurship education in primary and secondary schools worldwide, with a near-term emphasis on the U.S. and a 2018-onwards vision to globalize across the world. STEMIE currently has statewide programs in 18 states, invention convention presence in 46 states, and will be active in all 50 states within the next three years. http://www.stemie.org A list of STEMIE’s Affiliate programs can be found here: http://inventionconvention.org/local-programs/. Twitter: @STEMIECoalition

HARMAN (harman.com) designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions; and services supporting the Internet of Things.  With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. More than 50 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and connected car systems. Our software services power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated and secure across all platforms, from work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 30,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In 2017, HARMAN became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

For more information contact:

Veronica Lynagh
Executive Vice President

Matthew Lindberg


© 2018 HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson are trademarks of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, registered in the United States and/or other countries. AKG is a trademark of AKG Acoustics GmbH, registered in the United States and/or other countries. Features, specifications, and appearance are subject to change without notice.