Future scientists and inventors envision a future where the world's energy may literally "grow on trees," where blind and deaf people could regain their eyesight and hearing through "bionic" organ transplants, and soldiers would benefit from a new type of combat helmet to protect against life-threatening explosions. These were just some of the winning K-12 student projects announced yesterday by the 19th Annual Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Awards Program. The program's eight national first and second place winners for 2011, including four from the New York City area, envisioned new technologies that could make the future more environmentally friendly, healthier, and safer.
The ExploraVision program is the world's largest K-12 science and technology competition, challenging students to design innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. This year, the program received 4,346 team entries representing the participation of 13,387 students from across the US and Canada. Four first place winning teams each received a $10,000 savings bond, and four second place teams each received a $5,000 savings bond. The eight teams will also receive an expenses-paid trip with their families, mentor and coach to Washington, DC, for a gala awards weekend June 16-18. Activities will include a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and a Science Showcase, during which the students will present their winning ideas. The highlight of ExploraVision Awards weekend will be a gala awards banquet where students will be formally recognized for their creativity and accomplishments.
Among the four first place winners were a group of 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students from Horace Mann School in the Bronx. Hugh Savoldelli, James Savoldelli, James Hayman, and Jeffrey Weiner claimed the title with their Smart Subway System, which would capture wasted wind in the NYC Subway and use it to power the trains. Also ranking first was a group of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from Hopewell Valley Central High School in Pennington, New Jersey. Morgan Gruenewald, Agastya Mondal, Shane Moore, and Poojitha Shivaprasad presented their Bionic Auditory Prosthesis, a prosthetic inner ear designed to cure deafness by allowing the human brain to process sound without using the auditory nerve.
Landing in the second place ranks was a group of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from Plainview Old Bethpage Middle School in Plainview, NY. Alexandra Fryman, Sophie Heiman, Thomas Venezia, and Philip Danziger's proposed invention was BlindSight, a contact lens with a built-in nano-camera that sends video images to the wearer's brain and allows them to "see." Also claiming a second place spot in the competition were Norine Chan, David Kurkovskiy, and Alison Reed from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. The group of 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students presented 3Drenal: Kidney Bio-Printer, an invention that constructs a "kidney" for individuals in need of a transplant.
For more information or an application for the 2012 awards, visit www.exploravision.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.