On May 18th, the Edison Innovation Foundation gave STEM awards to student teams from across the country in the annual Thomas Edison Pitch Contest…for the 12th year in a row!
The finalists were chosen from 300 teams representing 817 students from 84 schools in 27 states. The student teams from elementary, middle school and high school displayed great creativity and inventive spirit to pitch their ideas to an enthusiastic audience. A panel of four judges consisting of education professionals, technical business experts, and Thomas Edison experts evaluated the team pitches and rendered a final ranking of the teams.
This picture-perfect evening took place at Thomas Edison’s historical lab (Thomas Edison National Historical Park), an inspiring backdrop for all of the students, mentor teachers and parents in attendance. 3D printers, 3D scanners, science kits and other fun awards were presented to students and schools. We want to thank our 2022 sponsors, especially our gold sponsor Nexans, for supporting this exciting event – Charles Edison Fund, Thomas Edison Electric, Gilbane, O’hara Electric, S. J. Carney Roofing and Maintenance, & Cobblefield Fund.
The finalist teams were:
1st Place: Team Creation Squad, from Oradell Public School, New Jersey.
This team created an invention to help 285 million people in the world that are visually impaired. SenseIt! is an affordable and simple gadget to be attached to items like hats and canes to help navigate independently by alerting them that an object is in their path. While the team has many ideas for the future improvement of their invention, it is currently fully functional!
2nd Place: Team Green, from Merritt Memorial School, New Jersey.
This group of students developed a smart recycling bin – One that can sense and alert you if you are putting the correct object into the bin. This invention is meant to decrease the 55% of recycling that gets sent to landfills because of poor filtering.
3rd Place: Team Fish Savers, from Merritt Memorial School, New Jersey.
This team strived to help the fish population of the Hoover Dam by creating a full filtering system that helps them reach the other side. They used existing technology and infrastructure to design their solution and improve the strategies already in place!
1st Place & Nexans-Edison Award: Team Telluric, from Cabrillo Middle School, California.
This team’s invention reduces the need for artificial lighting in vertical farming, a more sustainable and affordable solution for worldwide food shortages. They’ve created a working, smart prototype powered by alternative energy that can be used by home gardeners and small farms alike – Earning them not only a top spot in the finals but the Nexans-Edison award for the most innovative use of alternative energy.
2nd Place: Team AATL Wildcats, from Academy at the Lakes, Florida.
This duo created a durable packing solution that is simple at first glance, but has large-scale application in the world of shipping as we know it by reducing the 15,000 damaged packages that cause business problems and are thrown away each year. Everyone from customers at home to small business owners can all benefit from their tediously tested and researched invention.
3rd Place: Team Water Savers, Cabrillo Middle School, California.
Sprinkler systems are a source of wasted water and money in many communities across the U.S…which is what this team aimed to resolve by inventing a smart, affordable water sprinkler system. Their system only uses the amount of water your plants need based on integrated soil and weather sensors. This could also be used outside of the U.S. as an affordable solution to keep plants healthy in areas where there is low water availability!
4th Place: Team Mouth Breathers, Eric S. Smith School, New Jersey.
This team is combatting deforestation with their smart tree-planting robot. Their functional invention eliminates a need for labor and human monitoring by being able to be driven by remote and dropping tree bombs in the soil – all powered by the sun with solar panels!
1st Place: Team Hanu, Cupertino High School, California.
This student has created the “first ever” end-to-end machine-learning driven solution for remote screening of respiratory illnesses. Influenced by her grandfather’s own COPD, she has created this low cost, accurate invention makes it an accessible tool for patients to monitor this respiratory illnesses.
2nd Place: Team FireGone, Ridgewood High School, New Jersey.
This team’s wildfire risk assessing invention, specifically meant to help fill holes in current New Jersey’s system which sees about 1500 wildfires a year, provides a small, low-cost, wide detection range solution to a real problem. The key to this invention is that is meant to help detect fires before they happen, rather than help stop them after they’ve already started.
3rd Place: Team AEA, Montgomery Blair High School, Maryland.
The AutoChiller is an affordable and effective car-cooling system that you can use in any car to control the temperature while it is parked. It is powered by solar panels and is meant to reduce carbon emissions from air conditioning usage!
A special award was also given by the Edison Foundations to Nexans! This year’s Tommy Award, which celebrates Edison-like innovation and humanitarian, was given to the gold sponsor for their support of STEM and dedication to sustainable energy.
Congratulations to all and great job inventors!
These students captured the Thomas Edison spirit. Were he there, Edison would have been flashing a big smile. His famous quote, “There’s a better way to do it – Find it!” was displayed by all teams who were committed to “making the world a brighter place.”
To learn more about the Thomas Edison Pitch Contest and how you can get involved (as a student, mentor, or sponsor), you can go to thomasedisonpitch.org.