Very often, it’s the younger generation that inspires change and
scientific discovery and this year has seen a bumper crop of incredible
kids changing the world. Here is a look back at some of the inspirational
teens and their inventions that are sure to get your kids fired up. You
can encourage innovation in your teens by creating a safe workshop or
lab space. Many maker’s fairs and tool libraries offer workshops
for budding inventors or buy holiday gifts that require assembly to pique interest.
After having lost an uncle to cancer, Jack Andraka was inspired to do something
about this pervasive disease. He sent proposals to over 200 universities
asking for help with his lab studies, but his proposal was rejected by
everyone except Dr. Anirban Maitra of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine,
who refers to Jack as “the Edison for our times.”
What Jack managed to do was develop a quick, easy test that detects the
presence of a protein in the early stages of pancreatic, ovarian and lung
cancer. He is working on creating an over-the-counter test that can be
administered at home and hopes that early detection will help to save
lives. He is the recipient of the 2012
Gordon E. Moore Award, the grand prize of the
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
“I’m hoping to give someone a functional prosthetic arm for
under $1,000,” says Easton LaChappelle about the prosthetic device
he created in his bedroom using a 3D printer. Easton built his very first
robotic hand out of Lego, string and servo motors. Inspired by the success
of this project, he taught himself modelling software and got access to
a 3D printer. He created all the parts for his prosthetic arm in his bedroom.
Easton is working to improve his prosthetic arm and create a working model
that is affordable and accessible to more amputees. He is also studying
human anatomy to get a better idea of how the human body works. He has
met President Obama who enjoyed shaking the prostatic arm at the White
House Science Fair.
Hate the idea of giant garbage piles of plastic in the ocean? So does Boyan
Slat! Boyan has invented a way to clean up the world’s oceans and
make money at the same time. Boyan created a large vessel with boom arms
which is powered by the ocean under solar and wave power. The garbage
processing station will collect and recycle plastic onsite. Boyan hopes
that his Ocean Cleanup will be able to process 7, 250,000 in just five
years. The Ocean Cleanup is about half way through a feasibility study
which shows promising initial findings.