–ExploraVision Winners Envision Eco-Friendly Energy-Producing Technologies; Breakthrough Medical Procedures and Travel Safety Solutions; Winners Receive $10K and $5K Savings Bonds–
ARLINGTON, VA, May 9, 2011 – Future scientists and inventors from Kindergarten to 12th grade envision a future where the world’s energy may literally “grow on trees,” where blind and deaf people could regain their eyesight and hearing through “bionic” organ transplants, and soldiers would benefit from a new type of combat helmet to protect against life-threatening explosions. These are just some of the winning student projects announced today by the 19th annual Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Awards Program. The program’s eight National Winners for 2011, including four First Place and four Second Place student teams, envisioned new technologies that could make the future more environmentally-friendly, healthier and safer. (See enclosed list of winning entries.)
Sponsored by Toshiba and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the ExploraVision program is the world’s largest K –12 science and technology competition, challenging students to design innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. The program will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2012, and since its inception, more than 287,000 students have participated. Toshiba has awarded more than $2.5 million worth of savings bonds and prizes. This year, the program received 4,346 team entries representing the participation of 13,387 students from across the US and Canada. With its multi-level, imaginative and fun approach to learning, ExploraVision appeals to a broad range of students of all interest, skill and ability levels, encouraging education in vital STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. The program has become so popular as a educational tool that many teachers now use it as part of their regular science and technology curriculum, and for many former ExploraVision winners, the program has served as encouragement to pursue further science-related careers.
Noted Mr. Yoshihide Fujii, Chairman and CEO of Toshiba America, Inc.: “As a company that has always placed the very highest priority on innovation, technology and education, Toshiba is proud that ExploraVision is a key part of our Corporate Social Responsibility initiative in North America. The world we live in today is filled with challenges, from climate change to the scarcity of energy resources to a host of natural and potentially man-made disasters. There is no doubt that if our society is to overcome these challenges, we will need innovation and scientific advancement – the kind that can only come from today’s up-and-coming young inventors and scientists. Toshiba is proud to sponsor a program that helps young people focus their creative thinking and combine it with the tools of science and technology.”
“It is both exciting and rewarding to see students of all ages using the tools of science to answer questions, solve problems and envision the future,” said Dr. Francis Eberle, Executive Director of the NSTA. “We are extremely proud of all of the student winners and are also grateful for their teachers, mentors and coaches who have encouraged, supported and guided them through the process.”
Discovering Ways to Improve the World Around Them
Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision entries often reflect the real-life concerns of today’s young people who look at the world around them and envision creative solutions to pressing problems. Many entries for instance, including several top winners this year, addressed environmental and energy concerns. A team comprised of 2nd-3rd grade students from Countryside Montessori Charter in Land O Lakes, FL, earned second place in the K-3rd grade category for envisioning a potential solution for literally “growing” power with The Solar T.R.E.E., which features “leaves” made of nanotubes, protein and purple bacteria and is capable of harvesting both solar and wind energy. In another energy-producing project, a team of four 7th grade students from Horace Mann School in New York City took first place in the 7th-9th grade category for proposing the Subway Smart System, which would capture wind in the NYC Subway to extract energy as trains move down the track, using piezoelectricity to convert wasted wind into usable electric current.
Innovative Medical Technologies and Treatments
Many of the ExploraVision students imagined innovative new approaches for new medical technologies and treatments. BlindSight, the 2nd place winning project in the 4th-6th grade category, was envisioned by a student team from Plainview Old Bethpage Middle School in Plainview, NY. The specially designed contact lens includes a built-in “nano-camera” that would be able to send a video stream to a computer chip implanted in the brain — allowing blind people to perceive sight. It would also be capable of actually retrieving memories that patients may have had before they went blind! Second place in the 7th-9th grade category went to two 7th grade students from West Hills Middle School in West Bloomfield, MI for their project, I-TBS: Intra-trachea Breathing System, a futuristic disc-shaped device that would be surgically implanted and help restore normal breathing for the nearly ten million Americans suffering from respiratory insufficiency. The device would filter, compress and concentrate ambient air to provide patients with supplemental oxygen and help eliminate the need for cumbersome oxygen tanks.
Another New York City team, comprised of three 10th grade students from Stuyvesant High School, earned 2nd place in the 10th-12th grade category for the 3Drenal: Kidney Bio-Printer, an alternative solution to the challenges of costly kidney transplants. Using a 3D bio-printer, 3Drenal replicates the functionality of the kidney through mechanisms of cell fusion and organogenesis. It uses a structured scaffold to establish the architecture of the kidney and then layers this structure using print heads containing proteins, organic fillers, and stem cells, constructing a transplantable kidney that will be compatible to the individual. The Bionic Auditory Prosthetic (BAP), earned first place in the 10th-12th grade category for a team from Hopewell Valley Central High School in Pennington, NJ. BAP is a new type of prosthetic inner ear that would utilize an omnidirectional microphone to convert sound into electrical signals, which would then be directed straight to the thalamus within the brain, bypassing the entire inner ear and auditory nerve.
Driver Safety, Better IED Protection for U.S. Soldiers
Driver safety was a priority for a 3rd grade team from Discovery Montessori School in Edinburg, TX, who took first place in the K-3rd category for i.streets (Intelligent Streets), a new type of “intelligent street” traffic control system that would utilize a “smart translucent film” to be placed on a car’s windshield and receive signals from either traffic lights or satellites to signal drivers how to proceed in busy intersections (go, caution or stop).
Finally, first place in the 4th-6th grade category went to a team of two 5th grade and two 6th grade students from Virginia Virtual Academy in Herndon, VA who proposed The HEADS UP! Helmet, a new type of military headgear designed to protect soldiers from traumatic brain injury on the battlefield due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The helmet would be formed from micro layers of impact-resistant, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene sheets spun and covered with highly sensitive temperature and air pressure sensors to detect concussive force.
What the Winners Will Receive
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. 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 June 16-18, 2011. Activities will include a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and a Science Showcase during which the students will present their winning ideas. The highlight of ExploraVision Awards weekend will be a gala awards banquet where students will be formally recognized for their creativity and accomplishments.
For more information or an application for 2012, visit www.exploravision.org or e-mail email@example.com. Follow ExploraVision on Twitter at @ToshibaInnovate or join the ExploraVision Facebook Fan Page at www.Facebook.com/ToshibaInnovation.
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, Hard Disk Drives, 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.
ExploraVision 2011 National Winners
2011 First Place Winners
Grade K-3: i.streets (Intelligent Streets)
Discovery Montessori School, Edinburg, TX
Grade 4-6: The HEADS UP! Helmet
Virginia Virtual Academy, Herndon, VA
Grade 7-9: Subway Smart System
Horace Mann School, Bronx, NY
Grade 10-12: Bionic Auditory Prosthesis
Hopewell Valley Central High School, Pennington, NJ
2011 Second Place Winners
Grade K-3: The Solar Tree
Countryside Montessori Charter, Land o Lakes, FL
Grade 4-6: BlindSight
Plainview Old Bethpage Middle School, Plainview, NY
Grade 7-9: I-TBS: Intra-trachea Breathing System
West Hills Middle School, West Bloomfield, MI
Grade 10-12: 3Drenal: Kidney Bio-Printer
Stuyvesant High School, New York, NY
DBA Public Relations
National Science Teachers Association