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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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