News / USA

International Student Scientists Show Cutting-Edge Inventions

Megan Perkins from Kentucky tested the efficiency of different fuel oxidizers in rockets for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
Megan Perkins from Kentucky tested the efficiency of different fuel oxidizers in rockets for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair


Mike O'Sullivan

More than 1,500 budding scientists from around the world gathered in Los Angeles, California, last week (May 8-13) to compete for $4 million in prizes and scholarships at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  The high school-age innovators showed off some cutting-edge inventions.

Sixteen-year-old Zhdan Sukhov demonstrates a small robotic rover adapted for use in the fight against terrorism.  The student from the Ural mountain region of Russia says it can be used to help bomb-defusing crews locate explosive devices. “So this model could go under the car and look for some kind of bombs, mines, something like that.  And then the defusing group can do their work," he said.

The students and advisors came from 65 countries to showcase their innovations in environmental science, medicine, chemistry and many other fields.

A student from Ukraine created an instrument that is both a guitar and violin.  

Student Haoyang Fan from China demonstrates a tracking device for skateboards that lets users analyze their skateboarding technique.  He said a small computer on the bottom of the board tracks motion and direction, "indicating which part of the move I did wrong, and how should I correct them.”

Jimmy Wong, director of the Hong Kong New Generation Science Innovation Center, says a team from Hong Kong brought several different inventions. “A device for helping color-blind people to recognize colors, a safety device for working on tools or any mechanical machinery that will cut off the electric supplies as soon as you touch a fan that you have at home.  As soon as you touch the blade, it will cut off the electricity," he said.

Hong Kong student Nick So developed a kit to measure the levels of potentially toxic nitrates and nitrites in homemade baby food. “Some parents may use vegetables that contain high levels of nitrates.  And so the baby food has got a high nitrate level, and when it reaches their stomach, it will be reduced to nitrites and cause the blue baby syndrome," he said.

Many of the Intel student-scientists this year were girls.  Jessica Richeri from California designed a self-driving vehicle that avoids obstacles.

Megan Perkins from the south-central state of Kentucky tested the efficiency of different fuel oxidizers in rockets.  She has tested rockets since the age of eight in the corn field behind her house. "And so in middle school, when I had to do a science fair project, I naturally leaned toward rockets because it's kind of like a family hobby," she said.

Megan says she wants to become an aeronautical engineer.

Fifteen-year-old Tunisian student Meriam Touzi developed a water conservation unit inspired by a household mishap, when her mother wasted water by leaving a tap on. “She left it for a few minutes, and when she came back, the floor was full of water," she said.

Fifteen-year-old Francela Rojas from Costa Rica developed a device to convert sunlight to electricity using mirrors, heat and pressure to power an engine.

She hopes to make this a career, and says her family supports her. "They respect that I want to be a mechanical engineer.  You don't see a lot of girls in mechanical (engineering), but that's what I want to do, and they are totally agreeing with it, and they just support me 100 percent," she said.

Other teens, like Francela, say that science is exciting, and they, too, are planning careers in the field.

You May Like

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Report: US to Sail Warships Near Disputed S. China Sea Islands

Move will signal nonrecognition of Chinese territorial claims over area, Financial Times reports, citing senior US official More

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Research builds on recent NASA announcement that water flows on red planet today More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs