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Meet the 2024 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Competition Winners

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ExploraVision 2024 Winners

The Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision National Science Competition aims to inspire K-12 students across the United States and Canada to put their problem-solving thinking skills to the test during this science challenge. Students are tasked to use their critical thinking, leadership, and collaboration skills to conceptualize and create innovative systems or technologies to solve pressing real-world issues.  

Recently, Toshiba and NSTA announced 24 regional winners for this year’s ExploraVision challenge. This year’s winning ideas developed solutions to global issues ranging from healthcare, energy, cutting-edge technology, and sustainability challenges. ExploraVision continues to uphold its legacy as the world’s largest K-12 STEM competition, fostering the next generation of innovators and empowering them to turn their visions into real-world science projects and solutions. Keep reading to learn more about this year’s regional winners for Toshiba’s science competition.

The Travelmate

Created by Hamsini Venkatesh (2nd grade) and Zuyi Zoe Jiang (3rd grade) of Swasey Central School in Brentwood, New Hampshire. Supported by Coach Sue Mayo

The Travelmate is an idea for a wheelchair with motorized wheels that can help users climb stairs, empowering them to perform more tasks independently. It has a satellite communicator for emergencies and communication with family. Made of lightweight carbon fiber with obstacle sensors, it can also elevate the user automatically. To help prevent pressure sores and provide support for the lower body, the Travelmate wheelchair includes a hybrid cushion with a honeycomb-gel design.

The Life Saver

Created by Mason Tovar (3rd grade), Kolby Nguyen (3rd grade), and Carlos Staylor (3rd grade) of The Blessed Sacrament Huguenot School in Powhatan, Virginia. Supported by Coach Ashley Mertz

The Life Saver is an idea for a unique life-saving device that lifeguards and rescue teams use to save individuals. The device is a drone with life vests attached to it that also has location detection capabilities, allowing the location of the person in need to be shared with authorities.

Allergen Detector

Created by Isabella Gustin (3rd grade), Adriana Icaza (3rd grade), and Emilia Martinez-Christensen (3rd grade) of St. Thomas the Apostle in Miami, Florida. Supported by Teacher Ana King and Coach Carmen Garcia

The Allergen Detector is an idea for a device that attaches to a child’s clothing and can detect food allergies. The detector uses visual and odor sensors to scan ingredients, analyzing the data to recognize allergy-causing substances. The device then sends a signal indicating if the food is safe for the child to consume.

Smart Body Assistant

Created by Rhea Hittin (3rd grade) and Ashraya Rajeswaran (3rd grade) of Valley Crossing in Woodbury, Minnesota. Supported by teacher Mayur Hittin and Coach Stephanie Ryan

The Smart Body Assistant is a technology idea designed for continuous, non-invasive health monitoring to prevent issues before they occur. It features sweat sensors that continuously monitor biomarkers and key organs, eliminating the need for invasive blood tests. A digital bracelet component collects all the sensor data, uses AI and machine learning algorithms to predict potential health issues, and notifies the users. The bracelet also interacts with a centralized monitoring system that dispatches emergency medical services if needed, ensuring the person receives medical treatment.

LYNN Robot

Created by Tali Field (3rd grade), Sydney Burge (3rd grade), Corbin Lee (3rd grade), and Emma Gerlach (3rd grade) of John Ross Elementary in Edmond, Oklahoma. Supported by Coach Heidi Walter

LYNN is an idea for a robot that utilizes GPS and AI technology to navigate through disaster areas, locate victims buried under rubble and debris, and communicate with the victims to assist in rescue efforts.

DermVue: Future of skin cancer diagnosis

Created by Charlotte Bae (1st grade) and Lucas Wang (1st grade) of Roy Cloud School in Redwood City, California. Supported by Coach Katie Parodi

DermVue is an idea for a skin cancer screening machine that combines AI technology and medical imaging. Instead of waiting months to see a doctor, the user can use DermVue to get screened. It works by taking hundreds of detailed body photos, including dermatoscopic images, and within seconds, AI analyzes them with 97% sensitivity to detect concerning spots found on someone’s body. If anything is detected from the screening, the user is automatically connected to a network of physicians. 

Medical Earth Robot (MER)

Created by Abigail Ragsdale (5th grade), Wiley Billings (5th grade), Clara Ernst (5th grade), and Emma Hafenecker (5th grade) of Cascade Brooks School in Farmington, Maine. Supported by Coach Sandra Jamison

The Medical Earth Robot (MER) is an idea for an AI-controlled robot that is meant for the frontlines to treat injured soldiers, relaying their medical information back to medics while prioritizing the most critical cases. The worm-like robot can tunnel through the earth and reach soldiers in difficult places.

PLASTIVORE TRASHCAN

Created by Aashi Verma (5th grade), Sanjit Srinivasan (5th grade), Aadhitiya Mani (5th grade), and Ariana Banerjee (6th grade) of Lester CN in Roseland, New Jersey. Supported by Teacher Upasana Verma and Coach Chelsea Clarke

Plastivore Trashcan is an idea for a trashcan device that contains enzymes extracted from the saliva and gut bacteria of worms and fungi that can effectively digest plastic. The trashcan breaks down the plastic into glycol, which is then converted into disposable end products by reacting with sodium acetate. This device provides an eco-friendly solution to plastic recycling and waste management.

The Nanotechnology
Created by Swasti Timande (4th grade), Tarushi Panda (5th grade), and Nicole Haragutchi (6th grade) of Switzerland Point Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida. Supported by Teacher Ricardo Haragutchi and Coach Frank Spinner

Nanotechnology is an idea for a technology that could provide solutions for curing cancer, eliminating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and preventing pandemics. Nanobots can be programmed to target and deliver treatments to specific viruses, cells, or bacteria in the body, with successful experiments already done on mice and humans for viruses like SARS-CoV-2.

CyberSchool

Created by Aubrey Botting (5th grade), Ellen Dong (6th grade), and Anjali Kathiravan (6th grade) of ST Andrew Catholic in Ottawa, Ontario. Supported by Coach Jay McConnery

CyberSchool is an idea for a solar-powered device similar to a laptop, that features an AI teacher using visual aids to assess and support students’ needs. It includes tools for independent learning and audio speakers for effective communication with illiterate audiences. The mission of the CyberSchool is to empower individuals worldwide, reducing international poverty through improved access to education. 

Age Related Macular Degeneration ARMD Cure

Created by Christina De La Paz (5th grade), Michael Pham (6th grade), and Ainsley Recchilongo (6th grade) of Kingwood Middle School in Kingwood, Texas. Supported by Coach Robert Adrian

The Enzyme Robot is an idea for a robot that gets rid of ARMD by using enzyme nanobots to cure the affected eye. The nanobot can be reused on others, allowing for more people to be cured.

Magic Epilepsy Glove

Created by Veronique Joseph (4th grade), Maria Rakitzis (4th grade), and Greyson Ebert (4th grade) of St. Joseph School in Seattle, Washington. Supported by Teacher Vinoth Joseph Henry and Coach Laura Laun

Magic Epilepsy Glove is an idea for a device that consists of a wearable glove, mobile app, and cloud-based system technology to quickly detect epileptic seizures and alert family and medical professionals. Epilepsy is a widespread neurological condition around the world, affecting approximately 50 million people globally in 2015, as stated by the World Health Organization. This idea aims to help continuously monitor the person who suffers from epilepsy.

Myelin Menders

Created by Delaney Bartling (9th grade) and Vincent Chen (9th grade) of St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, New York. Supported by Teacher Patricia Gridi and Coach Paul Paino

Myelin Menders is an idea for an injection that contains nanorobots and stem cells to cure neurological disabilities such as Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy. The injection-based therapy focuses on repairing the axons of the damaged myelin sheaths in these diseases since these damaged sheaths cause the symptoms of these diseases by slowing down electrical impulses. The nanorobots delivered in these injections target the limbs of the patient and have sensors to detect where in the body the electrical impulses are the weakest, thus indicating a damaged myelin sheath. Once the nanorobot has located the damaged sheath, it will deliver the oligodendrocytes, which are the stem cells, and allow for the repair of the myelin.

Breaking Biofilm

Created by Lucas Brodsky (9th grade), Susmita Das (9th grade), and Hailey Lienau (9th grade) of Academies of Loudoun in Leesburg, Virginia. Supported by Coach Gina Craun

Breaking Biofilms is an idea for a paper-like film that is meant to break down biofilm – bacterial assemblages enclosed in an extracellular polymeric matrix that shields them from treatments, causing 65-80% of bacterial infections. Current standalone treatments like antibiotics and enzymes are ineffective against biofilms. This paper proposes using electrical communication pathways, causing the biofilm to break down and allowing more effective antibiotic penetration at lower doses, reducing resistance and side effects. Research is still needed to determine ideal voltage levels for safe and viable electrical biofilm therapy, but if successful, it could become a standard treatment improving outcomes for many biofilm-related infections. 

AI Eye

Created by Muhammed Fawwaz (9th grade) and Jacob Philip (9th grade) of South Iredell High School in Statesville, North Carolina. Supported by Teacher Kaleel Mohammed and Coach Jennifer Cartelli

AI eye is an idea that aims to help the visually impaired by identifying and recognizing objects, enhancing their quality of life. It focuses on developing an affordable AI-driven image classification model integrated into a wearable device. This device detects nearby objects and communicates through the text-to-speech. Utilizing open-source hardware like Raspberry Pi, users capture images and process them with AI technology. 

Pediabots: Harnessing Microbotic Technologies for Pediatric Surgery

Created by Bryan Zhao (7th grade) and Alex Caesar (7th grade) of Next Generation School in Champaign, Illinois. Supported by Coach Nicole McJunkin

Pediabots is an idea that aims to help perform infant surgeries. This device would automate surgeries with revolutionary advances in precision and reliability. Pediabots technology leverages artificial intelligence techniques such as planning and flocking algorithms to coordinate actions, understand environments, navigate through patients’ bodies, and make decisions about the best ways to carry out surgical steps. The goal of the technology is to save the lives of countless infants and fetuses worldwide. 

QuantMole: Efficient Determination of Molecular Ground State with VQE

Created by Nikhitha Swaminathan (7th grade) and Sri Dhanvi Puli (7th grade) of Ereckson Middle School in Allen, Texas. Supported by Teacher Swaminathan Arunachalam and Coach Tanya Carleton

QuantMole is an idea that utilizes the Variational Quantum Eigensolver (VQE) method to determine the ground state energy of different molecules, which is important for drug discovery and understanding molecular behavior. The ground state energy represents a molecule’s most stable state, ensuring the intended function for the drug, but less stable states may lead to unintended reactions. VQE combines quantum computing techniques to calculate ground state energies, providing valuable insights into molecular behavior and energy dynamics that can help establish a safer process for drug development. 

Enhancing Photosynthesis in Trees for Carbon Reduction using Rubisco Activase

Created by Camille Chu (9th grade) and Shayan Salimi (9th grade), of The Nueva School in San Mateo, California. Supported by Teacher Mandana Khalili and Coach David Elk

This project idea aims to develop a future technology that will have a transformative positive impact towards a sustainable future by producing genetically engineered trees with a significant increase in photosynthesis capacity. The technology will engineer Rubisco Activase, a key photosynthesis enzyme that reactivates molecular pathways, allowing plant cells to absorb more carbon dioxide instead of oxygen. 

Mycelial batteries: incorporating electrically conductive fungi into sodium-ion batteries in order to increase their efficiency and lifespan

Created by Liam Hernandez (10th grade), Liah Igel (10th grade), and Johnston Chen (10th grade) of The Bronx High School of Science in Bronx, New York. Supported by Coach Tracy LaGrassa

Mycelial batteries are an idea that incorporates fungi into sodium-ion batteries to combat degradation and improve storage capacity and energy density. Battery degradation occurs due to reactions between electrodes that cause buildup disrupting ion flow. This technology replaces the electrolyte with live fungal hyphae to facilitate ion transfer between electrodes without buildup, therefore prolonging battery life. 

JellyFilter

Created by Wanjia He (11th grade), Casey Liu (11th grade), and Tianze Huang (11th grade) of Millburn High School in Millburn, New Jersey. Supported by Coach Christopher Cook

JellyFilter is an idea for technology that proposes a filtration system using a mucus secretion from jellyfish, which has been found to absorb nanoplastics. The nanoplastic-absorbing protein in the mucus will be transferred to transgenic bacteria, which harvests these proteins and will be attached to the inside of the water pipes allowing for the collection of nanoplastics from water running through the pipes. 

N4NO (Nanocarriers for Neuroprosthetic Optimization) – a novel noninvasive neural dust insertion method through cerebrospinal-fluid route via micelles for neuroprosthetic aid

Created by Yvonne Shih (11th grade), Vishnu Vanapalli (11th grade), Amy Lei (11th grade), and Arianna Lee (11th grade) of North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham, North Carolina. Supported by Coach Letitia Hubbard

N4NO is an idea that provides a minimally invasive way to deliver tiny neural dust “mote” BCIs to specific brain locations using polymeric nanocarrier micelles injected into the cerebrospinal fluid, Once released, the mote wraps around a specific nerve, enabling accurate data recording of brain activity and nerve stimulation. With neurofeedback and AI modeling, patients can control neuroprosthetics without craniotomy dangers. 

GlaucoGlasses: Ultrasound Embedded Spectacles for Glaucoma Management

Created by Soham Chakrabory (11th grade), Jeffery Zhang (12th grade), Bandon Ling (12th grade), and Owen Choy (12th grade) of University of Toronto Schools in Toronto, Ontario. Supported by Coach Maria Nino-Soto

GlaucoGlasses is an idea for glasses that offer a solution for glaucoma management. GlaucoGlasses is a wearable biosensor designed as spectacles embedded with ultrasonic technology to monitor and manage intraocular pressure (IOP). GlaucoGlasses represents an innovation in ocular healthcare, offering hope to millions worldwide affected by glaucoma and revolutionizing the approach to treating this disease. 

mAbLab: A Deep Learning Approach

Created by Shashank Kamal (11th grade) and Abhinav Gutha (11th grade) of Centennial High School in Frisco, Texas. Supported by Coach Sean Oschmann

mAbLab is an idea for a new method for designing customized monoclonal antibody sequences targeting specific epitopes. It uses an encoder-decoder transformer model leveraging vast datasets and sophisticated algorithms to predict ideal antibody sequences. 

Amylopectin-Derived Skin Graft Seeded with CRISPR-Modified Stem Cells and Carbon Nanodots for Burn Wounds

Created by Hami Doan (12th grade), James Nguyen (12th grade), and Andrea Calderon (12th grade) of Westminster High School in Westminster, California. Supported by Teacher Kim Gonzalez and Coach Huy Pham

Amylopectin-Derived Skin Graft Seeded with CRISPR-Modified Stem Cells and Carbon Nanodots for Burn Wounds is an idea for an amylopectin-based gel that contains healing factors to further heal burn wounds, reducing the need for frequent graft replacements and improving patient outcomes. Nitrogen-doped carbon dots are implanted to enhance antimicrobial activity. This gel gradually releases enzymes for precise wound cleaning and promotes faster healing.

While the national winners will be announced in early May, all regional winners will be participating in ceremonies between mid-April and early May this year. The national winning teams will be participating in the weekend celebration in June.