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Three of Four First Place Winners Envisioned Innovative Solutions to Environmental Problems; Other Winners Imagined Breakthroughs in Medicine and Childhood Obesity
The Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Awards Program, one of the world's largest K-12 science and technology competitions, today announced its National Winners for 2008. Illustrating the importance that today's young people place on environmental issues, three out of this year's four First Prize winner teams proposed future technologies that could help solve some of the world's most pressing energy and environmental pollution problems. (Full list of winners below.) Other winners proposed ingenious treatments for life-threatening illnesses, an innovative preventative measure to the problem of childhood obesity, and even a device to make life easier for household pets and their owners!
For their projects, student teams researched existing technologies to conceptualize future advancements in the fields of nanotechnology, bioplastics, genetic engineering, and GPS satellite systems. Many of the teams collaborated with scientific experts across the country while compiling their research. This year, ExploraVision received 4,527 team entries representing the participation of 14,042 students from across the US and Canada. Students on each of the four first-place ExploraVision teams will each receive a US Savings Bond valued at $10,000 at maturity that may be used to offset increasing education costs. Students on second-place teams will receive a US Savings Bond valued at $5,000 at maturity.
Exploring Science to Imagine Future Technological Breakthroughs
The ExploraVision program, sponsored by Toshiba and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), challenges students to research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing technologies that could exist in 20 years. As an increasing number of state and federal policymakers and educators recognize the importance of "STEM," or science, technology, engineering, and math education, as a way to ensure a vibrant future economy in a world that will require more technically sophisticated skills, ExploraVision stands out as one of the nation's leading education programs that generates student interest in science and technological innovation. The program has, in fact, become so popular as a learning and motivational tool that many teachers use it as part of their science and technology curriculum.
Technologies to Help the Environment…
Several of this year's entries addressed key global environmental concerns, envisioning potential solutions for solving some of the world's most pressing energy and pollution problems. A team from Durham, NC won First Place in the Grades 10-12 Category for their project, "CHIRP: Circuit for Enhanced In-Vivo Regulated Bioplastics Production," which proposes a renewable and biodegradable alternative to petroleum-based plastics that would help usher in a new era of environmentally friendly bioplastic materials with a wide range of household, commercial, and medical applications.
Another student team from Pacific Palisades, CA won First Place in the Grades 7-9 Category for their energy-saving project, "The Four-Way Catalytic Converter," which would take the harmful gaseous carbon dioxide created by an automobile and use the substance to create electrical energy for that same car. A third First Place prize in the Grades 4-6 Category went to a team from Veneta, OR. Their project, the "Wavemaster," offers a new way to harness the raw power of the ocean as a way for society to enjoy a clean, constantly renewable energy source. As part of their ExploraVision project, the students even built a prototype design for use in a fish tank—and it worked!
New Treatments for Paralysis and "Lazy Eye," a Potential Solution to Childhood Obesity
Several of this year's winning teams envisioned advancements in medical technologies and health, including technologies that could significantly improve life for millions of people around the world. First Place in the Grades K-3 Category went to a team from Mediapolis, IA whose project, "ViBall" is a football and helmet game system that would allow visually impaired individuals to play football. The system would utilize a vibrating, beeping football and a helmet equipped with an antenna and GPS system that would direct the player on the field. The player would also be able to hear his or her coach's guidance through the helmet and receive additional instructions electronically through the football.
Students from Hinesburg, VT won Second Place in the Grades 10-12 Category for their project "CONNECT: Creation of New Nerve-Ending Connection Technologies," which proposes a novel treatment for stimulating nerve cell growth in patients suffering from paralysis. In addition, a student team from Edinburg, TX won Second Place in the Grades 4-6 Category for their "TBMS (Taste Bud Modifier System)," a way to help prevent obesity and the many accompanying health problems such as diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, cancers and arthritis by literally making healthy foods taste better (and unhealthy ones taste worse!). Three 7th grade students from West Bloomfield, MI won Second Prize in the Grades 7-9 Category for envisioning a treatment for "lazy eye" called "Strabismus Glasses." The specially-designed spectacles would feature lenses made from advanced LCD (liquid crystal display) materials. If the wearer's affected eye strays from the correct field of vision, the lenses adjust to impair vision in the stronger eye, just enough to force the other eye to exercise and perform correctly.
Even pets may have it better in the future, thanks to "The Pet Dream Automatic Pet Door and Tattoo Pen," which earned a team of 2nd grade students from Monticello, NY Second Place in the Grades K-3 Category. The ingenious system would combine the use of a specially-designed automatic pet door and a magnetic, metallic Pet Dream Tattoo pen that would allow pet owners to mark their pet with a special material that would activate an electronic door opening system. The pet door would recognize the "tattoo" whenever the animal chose to come or go, allowing automatic entry and exit.
In addition to the US Savings Bonds, 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. 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. The highlight of ExploraVision Awards Weekend will be a gala awards banquet and ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center where students will be formally recognized for their creativity and accomplishments.
For more information or an application for 2009, visit www.exploravision.org or e-mail .
The Tokyo-based Toshiba Corporation is a leading innovator and diversified manufacturer and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products, spanning information and communications equipment and systems, Internet-based solutions and services, electronic components and materials, power systems, industrial and social infrastructure systems, and household appliances. Toshiba employs over 14,000 people in North America and Toshiba America, Inc., is the holding company for five Toshiba operating companies in the United States.
Toshiba’s U.S.-based companies and some of their chief products are as follows: Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (Semiconductors, Flash Memory-Based Storage Solutions, LCD, and custom chips); Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. (Laptop Computers, Projectors, and Hard Disk Drives, Telephony 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 Consumer Products, L.L.C.(Flat Panel LCD TVs, and portable products); 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 more than 57,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
2008 EXPLORAVISION NATIONAL FINALISTS
2008 First Place Winners
Grades K-3: ViBall
Mediapolis Community Schools; Mediapolis, IA
Grades 4-6: Wavemaster
Veneta Elementary; Veneta, OR
Grades 7-9: The Four-Way Catalytic Converter
Palisades Charter High; Pacific Palisades, CA
Grades 10-12: CHIRP: Circuit for Enhanced In-Vivo Regulated Bioplastics Production
North Carolina School of Science and Math; Durham, NC
2008 Second Place Winners
Grades K-3: The Pet Dream Automatic Pet Door and Tattoo Pen
George L Cooke School; Monticello, NY
Grades 4-6: TBMS - Taste Bud Modifier System
Discovery School; Edinburg, TX
Grades 7-9: Strabismus Glasses
West Hills Middle School; West Bloomfield, MI
Grades 10-12: CONNECT: Creation of New Nerve-Ending Connection Technologies
Champlain Valley Union High School; Hinesburg, VT
For more information, please click here
DBA Public Relations
Lisa Cazzola, 212-388-1400
National Science Teachers Association
Kate Meyer, 703-312-9211
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