Teenagers often manage to amaze us with their forward thinking and incredible creativity. The inventions that they come up with can easily overtake those designed by the greatest of engineers.
This is especially the case when we look at the participants at the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. What these young guys and girls develop is truly admirable and deserves our great admiration.
The winner this year is Maanasa Mendu. She is a 13-year-old girl from Ohio, who was able to develop a super affordable and efficient system to harness both solar and wind power. Her motivation was her desire to help poor communities in India, who have no access to cheap electricity and clean water.
Her invention, the “solar leaves“, was inspired by the way plants function. Initially, she aimed to develop a wind-energy harnessing device. However, the idea grew into something that can capture different types of energy from sources like the wind, the sun, and the rain. The most exciting part of all- building one of these devices costs about $5 US.
The invention works by capturing the different types of vibrational energy via a solar cell and a piezoelectric material. Once energy is harnessed, it is converted into electricity.
As she was the winner of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, Maanasa received $25,000. However, this was not her final aim. She wants to build a prototype, which will hit the market one day.
Of course, among the inventions that reached the final, there are quite a few more impressive ones. In the top 4 is also Amelia Day with her sensor technology that helps visual and hearing impaired along with injured children. Other finalists are Rohan Wagh with his highly efficient microbial fuel cell, and Kaien Yang and his biodegradable plastic. In the top ten, we find Sofia Tomov and her mutation detecting mechanism that can limit side effects from medication. Also there is Sara Makboul with her Nano Cellulose Beads to counteract stormwater pollution.
Huge well done to all, and to the rest, who I did not mention. For complete list and full description of all inventions, you can visit the website of the Young Scientist Challenge.
Image (c) 3M Young Scientist Challenge