Last year, I became completely engrossed in Channel 4's Child Genius show that followed the course of gifted youngsters battling it out to be crowned the UK's brightest child in the Child Genius of the Year competition.
The entire premise of the show often left me with more questions than answers though - after all, how can you really measure intelligence? What actually makes a genius? And what real application does the ability to remember a deck of cards have in the real world? Are these youngsters just learning a series of mind tricks to give the illusion of intelligence?
So I thought it was time to take a minute to celebrate kids who are, mostly without any formal training, creating incredible things and making large steps in the medical, consumer, and engineering fields. I've pulled together a list of seven teenagers who are working hard to make the world a better place. Though the stories differ, they all have on thing in common. They say someone suffering or in need and decided to do something about it.
2. Alissa Chavez
Invention: The hot seat. A pad and fob that alerts parents if they have left their child in the car by sounding an alarm on a fob, smartphone or in the car if a parent walks 40 feet away and a child is detected in the seat.
Potential impact: Eliminate or reduce the number of children who die from being left unattended in a vehicle.
3. Easton LaChapelle
Invention: A prosthetic arm that can be 3D printed, including open source software and designs.
Potential impact: Reducing the cost of a prosthetic arm from around $80,000 to a more affordable figure. Plus, future plans of building an entire exoskeleton to help disabled people walk.
4. Ann Makosinki
Invention: The hollow flashlight. This light source is designed to run off hand warmth and a head lamp that uses body heat.
Potential impact: A reliable and cheap source of light for developing nations.
5. Anya Pogharian
Invention: A prototype dialysis machine that costs $500 as compared to traditional machines that cost around $30,000.
Potential impact: Increased access to dialysis machines means less stress on the patient.
6. Jack Andraka
Invention: A better screening method for pancreatic, lung, and ovarian cancer.
Potential impact: Improved early detection of these cancers offers more effective treatment for cancer sufferers.
7. Shubham Banerjee
Invention: A low-cost printer for the blind.
Potential impact: Access to a braille-capable printer for the 90 per cent of visually impaired people who live in developing countries.
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I'm the freelance writer who gets tech. So, I blog on three core topics:
Science and Technology