5th White House Science Faire; The Theme? Diversity and Inclusion in STEM
Recently the halls of the White House were packed with science projects — robots, 3D-printed objects, computer programs, apps, and extraordinary scientific discoveries — all built, invented, designed, and brought to fruition by students.
Exhibits at the White House Science Fair Include: (More information can be found here.)
Teen uses Tech to Tackle Cyber-bullying (Trisha Prabhu, 14, Naperville, Illinois). Illinois teen Trisha Prabhu learned about research showing that the human brain’s decision-making region is not fully developed until age 25 and got inspired to help teens rethink how they treat others. She developed a computer program called "Rethink" that alerts users when an outgoing message contains language that is potentially abusive and hurtful. Preliminary analysis showed that adolescents who use "Rethink" system are 93% less likely to send abusive messages than those who are not warned about the consequences of their actions prior to sending a message. Trisha earned a spot in the 2014 Google Science Fair to showcase her innovative project.
Kaitlin Reed demonstrates to President Barack Obama the attachable lever she developed that can make wheelchair movements easier and less tiring. With Kaitlin is Mohammed Sayed, who developed a 3D-printed modular arm for his wheelchair that can be used as a food tray, camera tripod, rain canopy, laptop holder, and cup holder. The two 16-year-old students are from Massachusetts. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Scoliosis Patient Designs Implant to help Kids avoid Spinal Surgeries (Harry Paul, 18, Port Washington, NY). 18-year-old Harry Paul was born with congenital scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that, when congenital, restricts the size of the thorax preventing the heart and lungs from developing. Growing up, Harry endured more than a dozen spinal surgeries to help correct the problem. Now, he’s working to help other young people with scoliosis avoid the burdensome operations that can get in the way of living life. He designed a new type of spinal implant that expands over time, helping developing spines stay straighter as they grow, and lengthening the time young patients can go between surgeries. Harry's implant could potentially help lower the number of risky procedures needed from over a dozen to less than five over the course of child’s surgical treatment. His design earned him numerous awards, including the Grand Awards of First Place, Best in Category (Bioengineering), and the Innovation Exploration Award at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Solar-Heating System Brings Warmth to Communities off the Grid (Kelly Charley, 15, Farmington, NM). Kelly Charley, 15, noticed that communities lacking electricity often build fires to stay warm, but that particles and ash from wood-burning fireplaces can be dangerous to breathe. She developed a solar-powered radiation system that circulates air and heats the interior of buildings. It can run without access to electricity or running water. Kelly, a sophomore at Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington, New Mexico, received a United National Indian Tribal Youth 25 under 25 Youth Leadership Award for her work to promote spiritual, mental, physical, and social well-being. Her heater design made her a finalist at the 2014 International Science and Engineering Fair.
Kid Inventor Designs Wearable Monitor for Grandfather with Alzheimer’s (Kenneth Shinozuka, 16
New York, NY). More than half of the 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer’s wander, which can lead to injury or death. Kenneth Shinozuka became acutely aware of this problem while caring for his grandfather, who was afflicted with the disease. Kenneth developed a sensor device that can detect when a wanderer stands up, apply pressure on his or her foot, and send an alert to the caregiver’s smartphone via Bluetooth. During six months of use, the device detected every instance when Kenneth’s grandfather got out of bed at night, without any false positives, ensuring his whereabouts were always known. Kenneth’s device won the Science in Action award at the 2014 Google Science fair.
Truly Flashy Fashion Accessories Use Tech to make Exercise Look Good (Maureen Botros, 15, Wichita, KS). Maureen Botros wants to make physical activity not just feel good, but also look good. Her invention, Illumi-cize, uses a pulse meter to measure heart rate and sends that information to a battery-powered computer chip. The chip is programmed to illuminate light-up accessories based on the intensity of a person's physical activity. The wearable device includes a SD card that collects and stores the data gathered during a workout, which can be analyzed and tracked by the user. For those with more conservative styles, Maureen developed a less flashy wristband that can be programmed to shine red, yellow, or green to signal whether and how much person’s heart rate is elevated beyond its normal resting range. The invention took the top prize at the Kansas Junior Academy of Science competition and will be presented at the upcoming joint national meeting of the American Junior Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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