Inventors Digest magazine selected the four winners of its national and Carolinas youth innovation essay contests, after evaluating some 400 submissions from across the country.
The contests, part of National Inventors Month last August, sought essays that best articulated what technology, tool, product or service would shape our lives in 2059.
Winners of the national contests each will receive laptop computers, a year’s subscription to Inventors Digest, their essays published in the December 2009 issue of the magazine, a possible appearance on the Emmy award-winning television series Everyday Edisons, a T-shirt and brain-teaser game. Winners of the Carolinas regional contests each will receive iPods courtesy of the Charlotte Observer and Charlotteobserver.com, and other prizes.
Aidan Sorge, 13, of Albuquerque Academy in Tijeras, N.M., won the nationwide middle school category with his essay on how medical nanotech implants will change healthcare by 2059. The judges said Aidan did a superlative job showing how nanotechnology will heal a range of ailments in the future.
Jauhar Mehdee, 17, of North Springs Charter High School in Atlanta, took the prize in the national high school category for his conception of a space elevator – a carbon nanotube beltway from Earth’s surface to orbit. He impressed the panel with his scientific creativity and clarity of expression.
Justin Williams, 13, of Southwest Middle School in Charlotte, earned the top Carolinas middle school contest for his networked school desk and at-home tablet. Judges enjoyed how Justin seized the initiative to conceive his own invention (including a rendering) and articulated how it would shape future education.
Christopher Hunter, 16, of Warren New Tech High School in Warrenton, N.C., secured the Carolinas high school prize for his neural-computer interface for music composition. The judges warmed to the originality of his think-and-play technology, the only entry that addressed music – a universal language used by every culture.
Health care technology, particularly in the form of implanted or injected nanobots, was a dominate theme among entrants this year. Other entries focused on alternative fuels, holograms, highly networked or GPS-controlled cars, intelligent clothing and even some utopian and dystopian versions of a post-Singularity future where robots run the world.
The best entries clearly articulated or described future technologies, tools, products or services that would shape or impact our lives by the year 2059, and were based on scientific or engineering principles.
“We were struck by the optimism and passion of the essays,” said Mike Drummond, editor of Inventors Digest. “In the end, it was tremendously hard selecting just four winners. But the winning essays excelled at clearly connecting the dots between desires, possibilities and overall societal impact.”