Some of the most innovative designs these days are coming from the minds of teenagers, a fact that shows a lot of promise for the next generation of engineers.
Even before the kids on this list have left high school, they’re showing keen minds for crafting inventions that display, not only ingenuity in design, but also humanitarian and environmentally friendly aspects.
Click on the photo below to see 10 of the brightest young inventors around.
Ann Makosinski, 16, of Victoria, British Columbia, made headlines last year with the invention of an energy-harvesting flashlight that can run solely on heat generated by the human hand. She won the 15-year-old to 16-year-old prize in the 2013 Google Science Fair for her Hollow Flashlight, which uses the Seebeck effect to create a thermal energy generator for the flashlight. The Hollow Flashlight wasn’t Makosinski’s first invention -- she also developed a piezoelectric flashlight and a solar sandwich, and continues to develop new products she plans to patent and possibly commercialize. (Source: Google)
You make good points, JimT. It would be so easy for kid inventors to just fall back on the technology they're most familiar with--mobile devices--and come up with clever apps and games, which is what a lot of kids already do. In fact, Shiva Nathan admitted that before he designed the prosthetic arm, he was working on a game app. So you're right that it's great to see kids thinking out of the box and also showing a humanitarian nature. They are indeed impressive.
Indeed, AandY, I hoped that the slideshow would provide a glimpse of what we can expect from our next generation of bright minds. I found it quite encouraging, too, especially since there is so much negative press about young people. This shows a different story.
In as much as, great inventions have already been made, the contribution made by creative teenagers is of a lot of importance. This shows the great minds that are going to tech over the next generation of technological advancement which is quite encouraging. An example being invention of an energy-harvesting flashlight that can run solely on heat generated by the human hand by a 15- year old. This is very fascinating and also encouraging. These young minds should be encouraged and even provided with the recommended resources to be able to achieve greater things.
These really are encouraging for our future; I especially was impressed by the lead-photo describing new energy harvesting methods, and second by the bio-plastic sourced from banana peels.It is refreshing to me seeing innovations that are not simply related to Smartphone Apps.Like a breath of fresh-air.
That's really interesting, Chuck. It does seem that a lot of the engineering talent is coming from outside the country, and often people come to the U.S. for job opportunities. I guess this is why STEM efforts are being ramped up so much for kids and students.
I know what you mean, Cabe, it's really impressive. When I was their age I was just reading books and riding my bike, not inventing technology that would change the world. It's good to know not all kids today are sitting around playing video games or committing crimes, like the ones you see in the media.
That is exactly one of the points I wanted to make, Nancy--I couldn't have said it better myself. I admire these kids so much not just because of their ingenuity, but also because of the social mindedness they have, sometimes even when they themselves don't have access to information and technology. That book sounds really interesting. I will have to check it out. Thanks for your comment.
Good point about innovations coming out of under-developed countries, Liz. About 10-15 years ago, a Design News editor interviewed an undersecretary of the Commerce Department, who said that there is no shortage of engineers in this country. There's only a shortage of American-born engineers.
In many engineering workplaces, there’s a generational conflict between recent engineering graduates and older, more experienced engineers. However, a recent study published in the psychology journal Cognition suggests that both may have something to learn from another group: 4 year olds.
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