The annual White House Science Fair with Bill Nye is always a delightful place to renew one’s faith in the future.
Selected teens showcase world-class inventions at an age when most us spent our free time falling asleep in front of MTV. It’s nice to have some good news.
When 18-year-old Elana Simon (pictured above) contracted a rare cancer at the age of 12, she partnered with the surgeons treating her to construct a medical database of biological specimens from others suffering from the same illness. Her findings landed in one of the top academic journals, Science, and she’s redoubled her efforts in an new website, the Fibrolamellar Registry, to collect more data.
12-year-old Peyton Robertson designed a more efficient “sandless” sand bag to decrease the damage from salt-water flooding in his own South Florida community.
14-year-old Kavita Selva earned a finalist place in Google’s 2013 World Science fair for developing magnets that don’t depend on the dwindling supply of rare metals. Instead, the magnets are made with a mix of metal tape coated with superconductor material.
A trio of 15-year-olds (Jonathan Berman, Maya Flannery and Arjun Mahajian) developed a wrist device to help children with developmental disorders recognize socially isolating behaviors.
Some children, especially with autism, display odd ritualistic movements called “stereotypies” that can cause friendship issues in the brutal social world that is K-12 education. The team developed a wrist device that automatically detects and alerts children to the movements, allowing them to consciously reduce the behavior in real time.
Another trio aged 13 to 13 years old (Cassandra Baquero, Caitlyn Gonzolez, and Janessa Leija) designed an indoor navigation app for the visually impaired. The app, “Hello Navi,” gives customized directions of unfamiliar settings by taking into account the users stride and building blueprints.
As the Science Fair, president Obama announced a handful of education initiatives, including a $35 million STEM teacher training program and the expansion of mentoring program in conjunction with AmeriCorps to teach STEM to 18,000 low-income students.