Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision, World's Largest Student Science/Technology Competition, Announces 2013 Regional Winners
Published: Mar 06, 2013
Helping Encourage Tomorrow’s Technological Innovators and Achievers
As a technology company founded on the principles of innovation and technological progress, Toshiba understands the importance of helping inspire young people in STEM subjects, both as a way to help ensure that there will be a future pipeline of talented engineers, scientists and inventors, as well as a way to help strengthen the world’s economy and build a more sustainable future. Mr. Masaaki Osumi, Toshiba America Inc.’s Chairman and CEO, and Toshiba’s Corporate Representative for the Americas, noted: “I am delighted to congratulate this year’s regional Toshiba ExploraVision winners, and commend them for their truly innovative and brilliant project ideas. Toshiba knows firsthand just how important it is for young people to cultivate their passion for science, especially if they ever intend to pursue careers in technological and engineering fields. It is especially gratifying to see an increase in participation this year, as well as the broad range of important issues addressed, including the environment, help for the disabled and childhood obesity, as well potential cures and therapies for Autism, heart disease, breast cancer and Diabetes.
“There is no other program like ExploraVision that has the ability to cultivate and harness the creative ideas that are present in every child and to help bring these ideas to life using science and technology as the foundation,” said Dr. David Evans, NSTA Executive Director. “We congratulate the regional winning teams for their unique and innovative solutions to real-world problems and commend all the teachers and mentors for their dedication, enthusiasm and encouragement of their students to explore science.”
Building a Sustainable Future: Battling Pollution and Global Warming
Every year, many students in the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program carefully research real science and work together to envision technologies that could benefit the world’s environment and help build a more sustainable future. This year, for instance, citing their concern about how air pollution could be contributing to global warming, a team comprised of one 2nd grade student and one kindergarten student from the Davis School for Independent Study/Peregrine School in Davis, CA imagined the Flying Photocatalytic Pollution Frog – a device to be built into airplane engines that would literally spray chemicals from the engine’s exhaust to “scrub” the atmosphere of dangerous pollutants – or, as the students say: “eat pollution like a frog eats insects!”
Two 5th grade students from Locust Valley Intermediate School in NY came up with the idea for Triple C: Carbon Capture for Cars, a futuristic type of filter that would physically separate environmentally harmful carbon from an automobile’s exhaust. A new technology proposed by two 5th grade students from Millstone River School in Plainsboro, NJ, the N.T.S.B. (Nano Tech Shoe Base), would provide an alternative energy source to help preserve fossil fuels by producing safe alternative power simply by harnessing the energy generated by walking!
Innovations in Technology to Solve Problems and Make Life Safer and More Productive
ExploraVision students often propose innovations in technology that could help solve problems they see around them in their everyday lives, as well as devise ways to make life safer, more productive or more fun. This year, for instance, three 3rd grade students from North Reading, MA proposed a new way for firefighters to react swiftly and plan their attack on a burning building with the SIGHT system. It would project a holographic image and detailed map of the building at the fire station that would allow personnel to strategically plan their approach, helping save lives and prevent property damage. And with a project that would be sure to please First Lady Michelle Obama and her LET’S MOVE fitness campaign, two 2nd grade students from Merion Station, PA came up with a project to battle childhood obesity called E.A.T. The special bar-code tracking system would help students recognize good nutrition by literally shining a red light on foods at the school cafeteria that are high in calories and low in nutritional values, while giving a green light to nutritionally balanced foods. Addressing another school issue, three 3rd grade students from McDonough, GA proposed the Voice2Voice Translator Earpiece, a device that would make it easier for students who speak different languages to communicate by automatically translating the audio signals between speakers so they would be able to understand each other.
A team of 1st grade students from Evanston, IL aim to use technology to eliminate the problem of nasty head lice with the Lice-Anator, a computerized hairbrush with special bristles and processors that not only detect the presence of the creepy crawlers, but also kill them using a tiny pulsating laser. Three horse-loving 6th grade students from The Woodlands, TX galloped to their regional win by proposing a new diagnostic tool, LEADS (Leaders in Laminitis). LEADS is a specially designed soft footpad equipped with key diagnostic technologies to help detect and treat Laminitis, an inflammation in the thin tissues of a horse’s hoof that often plagues race horses. And a K-3rd grade team from Conway, AZ elevated their way to a regional honor by envisioning the Hover Chair, which would combine a hover platform, and solar power to replace the current wheelchair and make it easier for disabled people to get around. Two 8th grade students from Vienna, VA envisioned a way to help prevent dangerous allergic reactions with the Food Allergen Detector, a hand-help apparatus that would use Raman spectroscopy, or the focusing of a UV laser beam on a food sample to detect 50 common allergens and alert the user of a potential anaphylactic reaction.
Perhaps unimpressed with the speed of today’s computers, a 7-9th grade team from Coquitlam, BC teamed up to envision the Hexadecimal Optical Computer made with Photochromic Transistors, a computer that would forgo the traditional binary system for a new 16-bit “language,” dramatically revving up processing speeds. As real-life microscopic nanotechnologies continue to evolve in the scientific world, many ExploraVision students are already ahead of the curve. A 10-12th grade team from New York City proposed Developing Soft Micro-Stencil (SMS) Lithography for the Fabrication of Electrodes on Nano-Materials, a new way to produce nanoscale electronics devices that could help broaden research in the field of future micro-electronics.
This year, two student teams proposed solutions to the growing problem of dangerous falls for today’s aging population. A 4-6th grade team from Altamonte Springs, FL devised the CounterBalance Shoe – a new type of orthopedic footwear that would use future technology to automatically shift for rebalancing and fall prevention, as well as cushion the foot for added comfort and even provide arthritis therapy, and a 4-6th grade team from Salem, OR proposed Smart Moves, a full body flexible suit with foot pressure sensors, acceleromaters so that when a person becomes unbalanced, sensors and guide wires in the suit assist the individual, making slight corrections to re-establish a person’s center of gravity.
High-Tech Health Care, Including Potential Cures and Treatments
ExploraVision students often imagine ways to improve health care and advance the science and art of medical technology. This year, several student teams came up with innovations that would help people suffering from a wide variety of ailments, including potential cures or treatments for Childhood Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Diabetes and even blindness.
Four 7th grade students from Loomis, TX proposed a way to help the millions of people suffering from Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Their project, the ADHD Regulator and Stimulator would be implanted in the frontal cortex of the brain to stimulate nerve cells and self-regulate the production of neurotransmitters to administer and properly balance amounts of dopamine, acetylcholine and other chemicals that affect brain function.
Two 5th grade students from Rochester, MN tackled the problem of Childhood Autism with Internally Remote Augmented Brain Function, a computerized real-time feedback signal augmentation device with “Smart Feet” – a shoe-like computer to literally function as a two-way wireless transmitter that would correct brain function by preventing data processing errors in a person’s neural network. A 10-12th grade team from Austin, TX, proposed Nanoparticle Induced Immunoresponsive Correction (NIIC) and Redirection of Fat Accumulation, a novel technique for battling Type I and Type II Diabetes that would use nanoparticles to develop specific immunosuppression protocols.
Two teams this year set their sights on helping alleviate the problems of the visually impaired. A 7-9th grade team from Dallas proposed BlindVision, a technology that would connect the brain to an external device that would communicate with a miniature camera placed inside a pair of eyeglasses, replicating the work of a normal human eye. Three 12th grade students from Urbana, IL came up with the idea for TEVIA Tech (Tixe) Enabled Visually Impaired Assistive Technology, a new type of smartphone that would incorporate a special “guiding system” using a series of sensors to detect and navigate hazards, as well as a reading system that would allow individuals to use tactile pixel technology to decipher written text without seeing it.
In a bid to help alleviate the problem of scoliosis, or abnormal spinal curvature, a 10-12th grade team from Miami, FL envisioned S21, a hollow fiber vest that would utilize a system of magnets inserted in the spine itself to administer mechanical force to correct the curvature over time. Two 9th grade students from Conyers, GA reflected on their project and came up with the idea for the Touchscreen Mirror, an interactive device that would not only perform all the functions of a regular mirror but actually “remember” your body movements, health issues and other aspects of your profile to observe and identify health issues early.
To help prevent heart attacks, a 10-12th grade team from San Jose, CA, suggested Immunotargeted DNA-based Nanostructures for the Delivery of the Pro-Angiogenic VEGF Protein to Revascularize Infarcted Myocardium, a DNA nanostructure delivery system that would administer a beneficial VEGF protein directly to the patient’s heart. Two 10th grade students from Alexandria, VA, proposed another nano-based medical treatment with A Combinatorial Approach to Breast Cancer Prognosis and Treatment Using Fractal Dimensional Analysis and Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) Nanoparticles, which would incorporate a computer interface that uses a fractal of a patient’s MRA can to identify locations of primary tumors, followed by thermal injection of targeted nano-particles to eliminate cancer-specific cells.
To help an estimated two million people in the U.S. alone who have lost limbs due to disease or trauma, a 7-9th grade team from Corning, NY came up with the idea for the Opti-Arm-An Optical Interface Prosthetic Device, a new type of limb replacement that would simulate the neural pathway of an individual and allow true-to-life movement in real time. The brain of the wearer would literally control his or her new arm!
About the ExploraVision Program
ExploraVision challenges students, working in teams of two to four, to research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. With its multi-level, imaginative, and fun approach to learning, the program is designed to appeal to a broad range of students of all interest, skill, and ability levels. As a testament to the program’s value as an educational tool, many teachers across the country now incorporate ExploraVision into their regular science curriculum, and for many former ExploraVision winners, the program has served as encouragement to pursue further science-related careers.
On to the National Phase of Competition
Each of the regional winners will now move on to the national phase of the competition, where they will compete to be named among the eight national winner teams, including four first-place and four second-place winners. Students on the four first-place ExploraVision national winner teams will each receive a $10,000 US Series EE Savings Bond valued at maturity. Students on second-place teams will each receive a $5,000 Savings Bond valued at maturity. (Canadian winners receive Canada Bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars.) The eight teams will also receive an expenses-paid trip with their families, mentor, and coach to Washington, DC for a gala awards weekend in June 2013. Activities will include a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress, a Science Showcase during which the students will display and demonstrate their winning ideas, and sightseeing around the nation’s capital. Each of the regional winning teams receives a Toshiba laptop for the school and each member of the regional winning teams will receive a Toshiba HD Camcorder.
For more information or an application for 2014, visit www.exploravision.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow ExploraVision on Twitter at @ToshibaInnovate or join Toshiba Innovation’s Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/ToshibaInnovation to hear more about ExploraVision.
Toshiba is a world-leading diversified manufacturer, solutions provider and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products and systems. Toshiba Group brings innovation and imagination to a wide range of businesses: digital products, including LCD TVs, notebook PCs, tablets, retail solutions and MFPs; electronic devices, including semiconductors, storage products and materials; industrial and social infrastructure systems, including power generation systems, smart community solutions, medical systems and escalators & elevators; and home appliances. Toshiba was founded in 1875, and employs over 20,000 people in North America and Toshiba America, Inc., is the holding company for five Toshiba operating companies in the United States.
Toshiba’s North-America based companies and some of their chief products are as follows: Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (Semiconductors, Flash Memory-Based Storage Solutions, LCD, custom chips, and Hard Disk Drives); Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. (Laptop Computers, Telephony Products, Flat Panel LCD TVs, and portable products); Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc. (Copiers, Facsimiles, Printers); Toshiba International Corporation (Motors, Motor Controls, Power Electronics, Power Generation Equipment, Automation); Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (Computed Tomography, Magnetic Resonance, X-ray and Ultrasound); Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation (Advanced Boiling Water Nuclear Reactors); Toshiba America Foundation (Supports science and mathematics education across the United States) and Toshiba of Canada, Ltd. (Made up of four operating divisions).
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA's current membership includes approximately 60,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.