Do you remember preparing for your school’s science fair as a kid? Or maybe you’ve recently helped your son or daughter with their science fair entry (exploding volcano anyone?).
Well, personally I’ll never forget my middle school science fair project. I tested different types of soap to see which was the most effective. My dad is a microbiologist so I grew germs on petri dishes and everything. I thought it was pretty clever.
Not anymore. Fourteen-year-old Suvir Mirchandani’s science fair project this year leaves mine in the dust. The Pittsburgh middle school student figured out how to save the government millions of dollars (yes millions) when investigating how to cut waste and save money at his school as part of his science fair project.
After figuring out that the cost of printer ink was the most costly part of the printing process, Suvir examined four different types of fonts and the most commonly used characters from teachers’ handouts to see which used the most ink. In doing so he found that font type Garamond with its thinner strokes could reduce the amount of ink used in printing and save his school $21,000 annually.
Suvir repeated this process with the federal government, which has an annual printing expenditure of $1.8 billion, and found that if the government used Garamond exclusively it could save $136 million per year. If the state government jumped on board, another $234 million could be saved.
Talk about a winning science fair project!
Suvir isn’t the only young person out there changing the world with his genius ideas. Take a look at 6 more budding scientists whose science fair projects will make you feel bad about yours (or maybe that’s just me).
1. Eesha Khare
If you’re anything like me your phone battery is constantly in the red. Carrying around my charger has become an annoying habit, especially since I still have to find an outlet and the time to actually be able to use it and charge my phone. Not the best system.
Well, the times they are a’changing. Thanks to Eesha Khare, 18, from Saratoga, Calif., an answer for my dilemma is just around the corner. The young girl developed a super-capacitor that could charge a phone in 20-30 seconds. The same technology could be used for laptops and electric vehicles. Eesha was honored at the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and awarded $50,000.
What’s next for Eesha?
Harvard University, and in her own words she wants to “just keep making a lot of scientific advancements.”
2. Ann Makosinski
It seems like every time I need a flashlight the batteries are dead, but what if I didn’t need batteries at all? Ann Makosinski, 16, from Canada has made this possible. The teen invented a flashlight that can be powered solely from the heat of your hand. With 1.2 billion people lacking regular access to electricity, Ann’s invention has the potential to change the lives of countless people.
Ann’s project was inspired by a friend in the Philippines who couldn’t complete her homework because she didn’t have electricity. Wanting to find a solution for her friend so she wouldn’t fail out of school, Ann got to work. She currently has a pending patent for her prototype and was honored at the 2013 Google Science Fair last spring, winning in her age category.
Imagine if Ann and Eesha put their heads together. I bet they could figure out how we could charge our phones with just the heat of our hands.
3. The InvenTeam
After visiting Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, Kalie Hoke saw firsthand how difficult it was to find clean water. A light bulb went off in her head, and upon returning home she worked with her classmates from Northeast High School in Oakland Park, Fla., on an invention to solve this problem.
The result? A bicycle-powered water sanitation station which can filter water as you pedal. In a 15-hour period, the station can create about a gallon of drinking water. Two members of the team, Payton Karr and Kiona Elliot, were invited to the White House Science Fair to present their project. President Barak Obama even tried out the invention himself.
“The teens hope their invention will one day be used by relief organizations like the Red Cross…They can take it to places after natural disasters so that water can be clean and useful for the people there,” Peyton said.
4. Shaquiesha Davis
Another one of the stellar students at the White House Science Fair was Shaquiesha Davis who invented a mobile app to help childcare providers. A babysitter herself, Shaquiesha developed the app after she was left with a toddler and no schedule.
The iPhone app, called Baby B 4 Me, helps parents keep track of their child’s activities while with the babysitter. Prior to a babysitting session, parents create a schedule for the day and then the babysitter checks off the completed activities.
Shaquiesha, a junior at Chicago Tech Academy, developed the idea while in her entrepreneurship class. The school focuses on math including technology and programming classes in hopes of creating the next generation of coders and technology experts.
5. Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and Bello Eniola
As part of a science project these 4 African teens invented a urine powered generator which debuted at the Nigerian Innovation Fair. With the girls’ invention, one liter of urine could produce 6 hours of electricity.
The science community has taken notice. Emil Protanlinski of Next Web says: “Their efforts should not go unnoticed, because if this is what they’re doing as teenagers, I really hope they have the funding they need to be revolutionizing lives when they’re adults.”
6. Resaca Middle School Students
When a group of students a Resaca Middle School in Texas were searching for a way to help their school and community they realized they need not look further than their classmate Andres Salas, a visually impaired sixth grader at their school.
The group of six girls – Cassandra Baquero, Grecia Cano, Caitlyn Gonzalez, Kayleen Gonzalez, Janessa Leija and Jacqueline Garcia Torres – developed a mobile app that would help guide Salas and other visually impaired students through the school and any other building. The students are winners of this year’s Verizon Innovation App Challenge and have been awarded $20,000 to develop their app.
I am so impressed by all of these young people.
Have you heard of any other inspiring teens changing the world with their amazing ideas? Please share in the comments!
Photo Credit: Rich Bowen via Flickr