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10 Teens Who Are Out to Change the World

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Nancy Golden
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Inspiring
Nancy Golden   6/3/2014 10:51:16 AM
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Amazing snapshops of teens from around the world pursuing innovative solutions that inspire. Make sure and watch the video link provided for Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone - a self-taught child prodigy whose heart for others is just as inspiring as his mind.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Inspiring
Elizabeth M   6/4/2014 4:43:09 AM
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I was especially impressed with Kelvin's story as well, Nancy. It just shows that even without access to formalized education, the brightest minds can still shine. I'm really happy there are programs so kids like Kelvin can get the opportunity they deserve.

Zippy
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Re: Inspiring
Zippy   6/4/2014 11:11:50 AM
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It is not only inspiring, but instructive to see how many of these bright kids come not only from outside the US, but even from third-world nations.  US technology owes a lot to talented immigrants over the years, and I hope some of the recent trends in restricting US immigration don't impede progress for the whole of humanity.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Inspiring
Elizabeth M   6/5/2014 4:43:51 AM
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Good point, Zippy. I actually just read another article (but I can't find it) about an African boy who built a solar powered car. I think it's so amazing that kids are thinking outside of the box and doing what they can with the sometimes limited resources they have to make their lives better and possibly even the lives of others as well. I wonder sometimes if having too much at our disposal makes us lazy, and if kids without other distractions are really the ones who will be changing the world in the future.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Inspiring
Nancy Golden   6/5/2014 10:35:51 AM
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I admire these kids because they are responding to the needs around them. The average American kid is looking for entertainment, many of these kids are looking to survive another day. A great book to read that will shake up your world is The Queen of Katwe - it is the story of a preteen girl who lives in the slums of Katwe in Uganda. Through the coaching of a missionary she has risen to become the chess champion of her country. The descriptions in this book will open your eyes as to how other people are living and it is not fifty years ago - it is today. Young people like Phiona (the queen of Katwe) and Kelvin are truly inspirational.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Inspiring
Elizabeth M   6/9/2014 4:55:51 AM
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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.

Elizabeth M
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Inspiring teens
Elizabeth M   6/4/2014 5:11:01 AM
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Compiling this list made me realize that, despite many of the negative headlines about teenagers, there are so many inspiring kids out there doing things that deserve a lot more attention. I believe we'll be hearing a lot more in the future from the teens on this list and they all prove that the younger generation is aware of what the world needs more so than many realize.

Ralphy Boy
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Re: Inspiring teens
Ralphy Boy   6/4/2014 9:42:09 AM
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Good stuff Elizabeth...

My daughter and I were just talking a week ago about the fact that many youngsters seem to have a 'what do you mean my phone can't do that?" attitude.

And that once that thought takes hold in the right kid... they just get busy and make an app for that function.

I noticed that the prosthetics were made with Arduino tech. Cheap and easy way (relatively cheap & easy) to do computer control of real world items. This should be a middle school standard offering, along with BeagleBoard and the other top programmable hobby boards. I'd say smart phone app developer should be part of that same class too.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Inspiring teens
Nancy Golden   6/4/2014 10:18:20 AM
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Those are really good thoughts about middle school class offerings, Ralphy Boy. That is a great age for capturing the imagination of youth. Where I grew up we had no electronics classes to speak of - I was the only girl in my shop class which was the closest to hands-on creativity that we had. I remember visiting the parents of a young engineer I used to date - they lived in another state - my then boyfriend at the time took me to his old middle school and we peeked through the windows of his old electronics class. I was amazed at the equipment they had for the kids (I saw at least a couple of o'scopes and function generators on tables and DMMs and a host of electronic parts in bins) - and it was his experience in that class that inspired him to become an engineer.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Inspiring teens
Elizabeth M   6/5/2014 4:53:02 AM
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That's a very succinct and good way to describe the attitude of kids today. While sometimes I think kids are being quite spoiled today with their access to expensive and high-tech toys (and things that aren't toys, like iPhones etc.), and I think that perhaps they lose some imagination this way, you do point out an advantage to being tech-savvy at a young age. Kids now are starting to look at the technology they have access to and begin to want to add functionality and solve problems early, maybe only for their own self-interest sometimes, because they want to do something they can't with a phone or device. But in the end it could be a very good thing for their future as an inventor or engineer.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Inspiring teens
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   6/17/2014 6:28:09 PM
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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.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Inspiring teens
Elizabeth M   6/25/2014 5:24:24 AM
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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.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Inspiring teens
Nancy Golden   6/4/2014 10:22:56 AM
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Elizabeth, while I agree with your statement about some teens being inspiring and innovative, i wish we could come up with some way to affect the teens that are living out technology with video game obsessions. They are spending so much time and energy on "building their stats" in what ultimately is a wasted endeavor.  Maybe someone can invent a video game that can work towards solving real world problems, yet capture the attention of gamers so they are using their time in a productive way.

Zippy
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Re: Inspiring teens
Zippy   6/4/2014 10:59:43 AM
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Nancy, your wish is granted.  There are a number of people and institutions working on apps to apply game technology to real-world problems.  The most famous is probably Fold It, which allows the user to manipulate online strings of amino acids to figure out the 3D structure of important biological proteins which have up until now be unsolved by conventional means:

 

http://gil.poly.edu/event/seth-cooper-solving-difficult-problems-with-video-games/

 

It's kind of like a crowd-sourced CAD program for proteins.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Inspiring teens
Nancy Golden   6/4/2014 11:17:55 AM
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Zippy - thanks for sharing this! This is indeed encouraging! For anyone interested, here is the link for Foldit


I am going to show this to my sixteen year old son and see how he responds...I might try it myself :)

Elizabeth M
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Re: Inspiring teens
Elizabeth M   6/5/2014 4:50:03 AM
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Interesting app share, Zippy. It's good to see the same principle behind games being put to a bit more analytical and practical use. So maybe all those hours kids spend in front of the computer playing games aren't all for naught. I do believe there is some value in it.

bobjengr
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Re: Inspiring teens
bobjengr   6/4/2014 5:23:24 PM
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Nancy, I could not agree more.   For the life of me I can't really see the benefits from video games and how those games further a young person's ability to deal with life's problems.  (Of course that's just me.)  The slide show presented by Elizabeth definitely demonstrates the enormous possibility when individuals, including teens, are engaged. I'm blown away by the quality of the devices and projects undertaken.  These kids really have accomplished a great deal in a short time with seemingly limited resources.  Let's hope they follow-through by staying with engineering and technology.  

Elizabeth M
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Re: Inspiring teens
Elizabeth M   6/5/2014 4:47:02 AM
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I know exactly what you mean, Nancy. Video games are one of the "distractions" I was thinking of when I wrote my previous comment. I think the reason some of these innovations are coming out of under developed countries is that kids don't have these types of things to occupy their minds and so can use their imaginations and skills a bit more freely. Although I do think there is some kind of analytical and problem-solving value to video games, in moderation.

Pubudu
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Re: Inspiring teens
Pubudu   6/5/2014 1:32:06 PM
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Great show Elizabeth and thanks for sharing
Many thanks Google, for motivating these guys for a better future for the entire human.

Charles Murray
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Re: Inspiring teens
Charles Murray   6/5/2014 6:12:14 PM
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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.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Inspiring teens
Elizabeth M   6/10/2014 5:41:10 AM
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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.

bobjengr
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10 TEENS
bobjengr   6/4/2014 5:29:25 PM
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Elizabeth--Excellent post.   There are two or three things that really stand out for me, namely:

1.) The quality of the "inventions "and/or project is absolutely marvelous.

2.)  The ladies are just as engaged as the guys.  This is a great trend.

3.  Each project is one that can possibly affect our "human condition" and relieve difficulties experienced in the real world.

4.)  The winners are multi-national demonstrating involvement on a global scale.  This, in my opinion, is a great thing. 

Very happy to see that monetary rewards were given.  This shows that $$$ can be had by applying engineering and scientific principals and "book learning" is the road map to a fascinating career.  Again--great post.

Elizabeth M
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Re: 10 TEENS
Elizabeth M   6/5/2014 4:34:13 AM
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You make excellent points, bobjengr, and these are also things I found so impressive about the teens and their inventions. It's so great to see young women getting involved, and the socially conscious aspect of many of these designs is really impressive. In short, I think the kids get it!

OvidiuIvanica
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To be or not to be
OvidiuIvanica   6/5/2014 12:30:18 PM
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Great teens, great opportunities for them, encouraging hopes for engineering development, and also to some extent intriguing seeing a nice promissing Romanian engineer passing as a Turkish fellow, even while holding his own country's Flag ! The correction for the caption of Ionut Budisteanu's picture would be appreciated.

Elizabeth M
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Re: To be or not to be
Elizabeth M   6/9/2014 8:08:08 AM
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I'll make that change, Ovidiulvanica, sorry for the mistake. There are differing reports and some say he is from Turkey, others Romania. But I did the research and you are right, it's Romania.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: To be or not to be
Cabe Atwell   6/10/2014 2:42:52 AM
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It's great seeing these kids accomplish some pretty incredible feats, it gives me hope for the future.

Elizabeth M
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Re: To be or not to be
Elizabeth M   6/10/2014 5:38:52 AM
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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.

AnandY
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Re: Innovative Teenagers Out To Make A Change
AnandY   6/25/2014 3:16:15 AM
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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.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Innovative Teenagers Out To Make A Change
Elizabeth M   6/25/2014 5:06:44 AM
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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.

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