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High School Whiz Kids Put Invention Skills to Test in Summer Program

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A group of young scientists is learning how to find solutions to real problems.

As CBS2's Steve Overmyer reported, at Hk Maker Lab at Columbia University, the high school students are developing practical-use ideas.

Aaron Kyle, a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia, said students are creating a variety of devices.

"What these guys are working on is making sure the needle is not overinserted when it's placed into a vein," Kyle said of one project.

"These folks were dealing with issues of air pollution," he said of another group.

"This group is working on guidance for the visually impaired," Kyle said of another project.

"They developed this ultrasonic guidance system that can be placed onto a set of glasses. So you ever watch the show 'Daredevil?' The notion is he can hear all these sounds bouncing back and forth. Same sort of thing here."

The open-ended projects allow students to explore their interests and solve a problem, such as addressing the rise of heat-related illnesses in football players.

"So our solution was to take a thermostater, which is a temperature-tracking device, and install it inside the mouth guard," explained Helal Chowdhury of Brooklyn Technical High School.

A wireless signal from the mouth guard is then sent to the trainer, who can numerically monitor when a player needs to hydrate.

The students invest their summer working to achieve the powerful moment of discovery.

"My biggest eureka moment was when the code finally worked," said Sandra Li of Columbia Secondary School. " … I kind of teared up a little.

"We spent a lot of time on that," she added.

Said Chowdhury: "After seeing the final product after six weeks of hard work and failures and finally seeing that it actually worked out, that gives you that eureka moment, and you feel so great about it."

The winning team will be invited to further incubate their project at Harlem Biospace, a tech lab that solve health problems with new innovations.

Aug 26, 2016

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