Each year through our Nord Anglia Education collaboration with MIT, teams of students participate in a challenge, merging science and technology to find creative solutions to complex problems. They are given a prompt in September and work in teams, researching, constructing and finally presenting their product prototypes in March. This summer, six Village students along with science teacher Mila Taylor were invited to present their products and speak on “Harnessing the Inventiveness in Us” at the 2019 NAE-MIT STEAM Festival in Warsaw, Poland.
This year’s STEAM Festival was a 5-day event during the summer, providing a valuable learning environment through STEAM workshops, collaborative projects, showcases and even opportunities to explore Warsaw. Over 150 students from Nord Anglia Education schools attended, and activities ranged from drone coding to finding solutions for disaster scenarios.
Three different teams of Vikings were invited to present their incredible inventions:
Worried about chewing gum litters and the non-biodegradable polymers spit out by people everywhere, Mariela and Beatriz developed a product called EcoChew - a biodegradable chewing gum that is intended to be swallowed. Made of healthy ingredients, the gum comes in two flavors (for now) - mint and honey! Earlier in the year, they entered EcoChew in The University of St. Thomas’ 2019 BOLD Ideas Pitch Competition and won 2nd place and a monetary sum.
Ashley and Anirudh were interested in improving prosthetics, recognizing that more can be done to better these devices that serve as an extension of the wearer. Their prototype has a soft and comfortable sleeve attachment and uses technology to improve the prosthetic limb’s movement in correlation to the wearer’s movement. PiezoPace, the team’s prototype, also contains a rechargeable battery that is charged through body movement.
Vision Alert is a mechanism developed by students Loic and Joshua to combat the problem of falling asleep at the wheel. The device is added to a pair of glasses in order to alert the wearer that they are falling asleep. This mechanism consists of a small camera which records a live video stream of the wearer's face. The video stream is then sent to the attached computer and automatically monitored to see if the wearer closes both his eyes for three seconds. If the wearer does close both his eyes for three seconds, a signal will be sent to an alarm which will remind the wearer to open their eyes and concentrate on driving.
Both PiezoPace and Vision Alert are currently being developed/improved with guidance from Houston Methodist doctors. One of the students innovators, Anirudh will be interning at Houston Methodist this summer, gaining valuable experience through Village’s Internship Program.