Students from throughout the United States demonstrated their inventions to U.S. President Barack Obama today at the White House Science Fair. The President also announced a new AmeriCorps program that will help mentor young Americans in engineering and science in partnerships with U.S. technology companies.
Obama asked for more appreciation of the contributions that science makes to society, saying, "...one of the things that I'm concerned about is that, as a culture, we're great consumers of technology, but we're not always properly respecting the people who are in the labs and behind the scenes creating the stuff that we now take for granted. And we've got to give the millions of Americans who work in science and technology not only the kind of respect they deserve but also new ways to engage young people."
Some highlights of today's science fair were:
- A low-cost, bicycle-powered water filtration system
- A buoy-mounted, solar-powered riptide detection system that can warn against conditions that lead to drowning deaths
- A low-cost 3D printed prosthetic arm that is controlled by brain waves
- Computer analysis of skin cells to detect cancer with high accuracy
- Tactile sound that produces vibrations that enable hearing impaired people to hum along to music
- A pancreatic cancer test that's cheaper, faster and more sensitive than current commercial tests
- Models for a future city with new ideas for transportation, which Obama compared to the Jetsons cartoon
The President noted that student Jack Andraka has requested access to a biomedical research lab nearly 200 times to pursue his research before Johns Hopkins University granted him access to labs. Obama quipped that Andraka's high school years are more constructive than his own were. "I don't know what you guys were doing when you were juniors in high school...Better than I was doing, I promise you," Obama said.
See below for a video of the President speaking with students about their projects:
(Photo credit: White House)