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article imageRobots and green energy triumph at Intel ISEF

By Tim Sandle     May 19, 2018 in Technology
The top awards at May's Intel ISEF event go for a window-washing robot, low-cost big batteries and ‘green’ capacitors. Across the event, some 1,790 students competed for the awards.
Almost $5 million in prizes were available at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which is aimed at students, seeking to encourage young people to become up-and-coming scientists and technologists. The Intel ISEF) is the largest pre-college scientific research event in the world. Each May, more than 1500 students from roughly 70 countries and territories compete in the fair for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips and the grand prizes, including one $75,000 and two $50,000 college scholarships. This year's event took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, running from May 13 to May 19, 2018.
The theme for the 2018 edition was Think Beyond and the young innovators showcased their inspiring ideas for ‘improving the way we work and live’. Australian teenager Oliver Nicholls was given the top prize for his prototype of an autonomous robotic window cleaner, designed for commercial buildings. Nicholls received with the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000, named after the Intel co-founder.
Among those commended were Taiwanese high school students, who won five awards. This included Yen Po-hsun and Lee Shang-jung of Concordia Middle School, in Chiayi City, who succeeded in the engineering category for their "spherical induction motor with hexahedron stator for attitude control."
The first runner-up was Meghana Bollimpalli, aged 17, from Little Rock, Arkansas. She received an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000 for her low-cost approach for synthesizing materials. This was deemed important since it could reduce the production and energy costs of making electrodes for devices like supercapacitors. The second runner-up was Dhruvik Parikh, aged 18 and hailing from Bothell, Washington. He developed a lower cost and robust ion exchange membrane for use in large, industrial-scale batteries for storing solar or wind-generated electricity for later distribution.
Another entry of interest was from Ryan Beam, aged 16, who has develop a method for challenging fake news. Ryan ran a science experiment which showed that it takes no more than just a tiny icon to keep people from spreading “facts” that are plainly not true. This is in the form of a a little red warning sign next to the fake articles, which helps prevent fake news items from being shared.
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