Very young engineers are inventing solutions to some very old problems. Recently, the prestigious 2020 Broadcom MASTERS® competition released its list of finalists. The program is the leading STEM competition for middle school students in the United States. It aims to encourage young scientists, engineers and innovators to solve major problems that plague the 21st Century. Out of the 3,476 students who applied, 300 were selected. Of these, 52 percent were girls and 47 percent were boys hailing from 34 states, including Puerto Rico.
Ishana Kumar, a 6th grader from New York, took home the top award — the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize — for her project “Color Is in the Eye of the Beholder: The Role of Retinal Fatigue on Imaginary Fechner Colors,” which examines how retinal fatigue impacts the way we see color.
Charlotte Lenore Simon Michluk, an 8th grader from New Jersey, won the $10,000 Department of Defense STEM Leadership Prize for inventing an environmentally friendly coating that can prevent barnacles from growing on ships, which create drag and increase the cost of fuel during transport.
Julia Olshwang, an 8th grader from California, won the $10,000 Lemelson Award for Invention category for his device “Talk to the Hand,” a glove that allows hearing-impaired people to translate sign language into text or speech.
Anita Genko, an 8th grader from Michigan, won first place in the Engineering Award category for a test she developed that detects lead chromate, an additive, in turmeric, a popular spice. The additive brightens the yellow color of turmeric, making it more appealing to buyers, but can be toxic.
JT Mulvihill, an 8th grader from Arizona, won second place in the Engineering Award category for his football helmet design, which protects a player’s head during various kinds of impacts.
Click here to see the full list of 2020 Broadcom MASTERS® and watch their presentations.