Thomas Edison – Pitch Contest Winners

To a festive crowd of parents, students, teachers and invited guests, the winners of the 8th annual Thomas Edison Invention Challenge were announced and celebrated at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park [“Edison Park”]. The contest celebrated inventors from across the country.

Twenty-eight (28) teams across 6 states competed to make it to Edison Park for a top honors, run-off pitch contest. Six (6) finalist teams, three in the middle school and three in the high school categories went head to head. Teams “pitched” their invention, in person, before a 3 judge panel.

Here is a summary of the awards in both the middle school and high school award categories.

The finalists.

The finalists.


Elementary/Middle School Category

 

1st Place: The Village School, Houston, TX (SKYPED-in for Pitch Competition)

BIOQUATTUOR – “A Model of an Insulin Delivery Robot”
The Insulin Bot will help give a person with diabetes the correct dosage of insulin that they need, allowing them to handle the healthy diet and exercise. The Insulin Bot turns sweat into energy which is then used to put insulin directly into the bloodstream and test glucose levels. Unlike traditional insulin pumps, the Insulin Bot is inexpensive, not dangerous to the human body, saves time and is not bulky.

Team Members: Ava Greer, Sophie Onuki, Amber Zou, Taylor Zhang

Team Members: Ava Greer, Sophie Onuki, Amber Zou, Taylor Zhang

2nd Place: Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, Livingston, NJ

CREATIVE CAPS – “Wind Powered Water Well & Water Filtration”
This team created a wind-powered well that takes the water and filters it so it lessens the amount of manual labor required to get water in third world countries. Once the water is filtered with this product, a solar powered buzzer goes off to let the user know that filtering is complete and the water is ready to drink or use. The wind turbine placed in the well provides an easy way to lift the bucket.
Team Members: Miriam Bash, Jack Helprin, Hannah Koppel, Nathaniel Savitz

3rd Place: Athens Middle School, Coxsackie, NY

The Fab 4 – “A Water Runoff Turbine”
This team’s invention, The Runoff Repeller, separates contaminated storm water runoff from the sanitized water to help our rivers and oceans in order to clean them. Chemicals and toxic sprays from fertilized crops can be swept away by storms and brought into bodies of water right near our homes. The Repeller ensures that rocks and chunks of dirt/garbage are caught and do not enter the water supply.
Team Members: Leslie Hinrichsen, Hannah Osborn, Andrew Sage, Alex Slater


High School Category

 

1st Place: Seton Hall Prep, West Orange, NJ

SHPREME – “Bicycle Mounted Charging System”
This team’s invention looks to solve the issue of bike riders’ phones running out of battery by using a source of energy that does not harm the environment. This source would be the man-powered energy generated by the rotations of the rear tire. The rear tire rotates a 3D-printed gear which spins a separate connected gear which rotates the shaft of a generator. The rotation of the generator shaft creates an electrical current that flows from the generator into a power bank which then charges the phone via a normal iPhone charging cord.

Team Members: Aidan Gaul, Ross Johnson, Timothy Metcalf, Brian Mueller

Team Members: Aidan Gaul, Ross Johnson, Timothy Metcalf, Brian Mueller

2nd Place: Lacey Township High School, Lanoka Harbor, NJ

ALVOLT – “Mechanical Heart Valve”
This team’s invention is an electrically motorized valve replacement with an ultrasonic sensor to regulate the aortic valve’s leaflets to coincide with the blood flow of the systole and diastole phases. This invention is meant to significantly help a patient’s postoperative and cardiovascular health, along with the aorta, which is the most important artery in the heart.
Team Members: Hailey Carskaddan, Samantha Kievit, Kali Pullin, Seda Turkoglu

3rd Place: Chatham High School, Chatham, NJ

Chatham Cougars – “Inflatable Lower Leg Field Splint”
This team’s invention, the Inflataboot, is an inflatable leg brace to be used in emergency situations ranging from a sprain to a broken ankle. Often times, people find themselves in a situation where they do not know how to apply a brace or do not have time to learn how to. It is more convenient than carrying around a bulky brace, and more effective than wasting time assembling one.
Team Members: Kasper Bardecki, Thomas Giordano, Julia Lin, Kaitlin Pinaire

 


Thomas Edison said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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Thomas Edison Smiles at Bioplastics

Thomas Edison Smiles at BioplasticsKnow those attractive spools of colored plastic filament you can buy and load into a 3D printer to make your creations? What if the plastic filament comes from another source…..like algae? That’s right algae turned into bioplastics.

Researchers and designers in the Netherlands are working on this unusual use of algae, to replace synthetic plastics with bioplastics. And it may not stop with just algae as the researchers expand their ideas. It has a nice cache don’t you think….environmentally friendly materials to use when making things. Thomas Edison was a very big fan of using natural earth elements in his inventions.

Algae and seaweeds could be cultivated in local facilities, and during their growth process absorb carbon dioxide and other substances from both aquatic and atmospheric environments, creating oxygen and biomass (bioplastics). Dried algae bioplastic is powdered, mixed with other components and extruded filament is manufactured. Different compositions including color, texture and specific properties can be accomplished through the close control of various algae forms.

Thomas Edison Smiles at Bioplastics

Although this raw material for plastic filament is probably more costly, it does chalk-up economic credits for cleaning the environment; and using locally grown materials with less wastage and transportation energy savings. Can you see Edison smiling over this one!

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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Thomas Edison Admires his Electric Vehicle Legacy

Electric vehicles of all kinds continue to penetrate the huge American automobile market. Today there are about 600,000 such vehicles on the road, compared to well over 220 million conventional gasoline and natural gas vehicles now on the roads.

This steady trend is prompting electric utilities and energy planning and advocacy groups to begin discussions about the nation’s electric utility industry’s ability to support the re-charging of these vehicles. Of course there could certainly be cases where the local utility lines in a neighborhood might need to be reinforced, or perhaps if enough electric cars are clustered in an area, neighborhood substations might need to be reinforced as well. This would depend on the local conditions of course and not subject to general rules….much like installing solar systems on homes and other buildings. It depends on the local conditions.

Electric vehicle charging stations seem to be popping up everywhere!

Electric vehicle charging stations seem to be popping up everywhere!

The National Renewable Energy Lab broadly projects the American grid can handle 7.5 million electric vehicles; but this is an overall estimate as local electric utility lines and capacities vary widely across the country. For instance, older urban/suburban communities with their heavily congested areas and aging electric infrastructures are very different from long distance electric lines strung in sparsely populated semi-rural areas.

What might happen if an electric charging garage, with many parking spaces, is placed near a commuter train line in a mature suburban community? Or if a new development of apartment houses is part of a large urban renewal project in a city center? All this has to be looked at and planned.

A worldwide happening…charging stations in China

A worldwide happening…charging stations in China

It will take time and money to change the electric utility system to accommodate such a significant change. This is already happening to utilities now as folks are installing photovoltaic systems that can feed electric energy back into the grid, which can radically change the operation of utility lines previously designed for one-way power flow. Add to this the futuristic plans to have already charged electric vehicles act as tiny generating stations to discharge a portion of their stored battery energy back into the grid during high peak periods to help the grid.

You have to admire Thomas Edison and his charging of electric vehicles way back in 1908 in his home garage. The man knew what was coming; and don’t forget…..he also designed and built the first electric utility system in New York City in 1882.

Thomas Edison said, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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