Eight Student Teams Named National Winners of 27th Annual ExploraVision Competition

Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Honor Student Innovation with Prizes and Trip to Washington, D.C.

Category:

Thursday, April 25, 2019 8:00 am EDT

Dateline:

ARLINGTON, Va.
"A Cure for Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection."

ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Toshiba and the NSTA announced eight national winners of the 27th annual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition, the world’s largest K-12 science competition. This year’s winners have gone above and beyond to think critically and creatively about the biggest problems facing our world, with ideas ranging from innovations in physical and mental healthcare, to ideas that foster environmental sustainability and stewardship.

The Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition is designed to help students develop the skills emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, including problem-solving, critical-thinking and collaboration skills. To participate, students must imagine and produce a system or a technology with the potential to solve the problems of the future. Regional finalists were asked to bring their ideas to life by creating a website and producing short videos that demonstrate how the prototype would work.

“For 27 years, we have been continually impressed by the creativity of ExploraVision winners. This year’s national winners have embodied the Toshiba essence, demonstrating a commitment to raising the quality of life for people around the world by going above and beyond the limits of modern-day science,” said Noriaki Hashimoto, Chairman & CEO, Toshiba America, Inc. “By combining the power of invention with the desire for a better world, this year’s winners have imagined solutions that, up until now, have not existed – and they are one step closer to making them a reality.”

Since its inception in 1992, over 400,000 students from across the United States and Canada have entered the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision program.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this year’s national winners. Their dedication, collaborative spirit, innovative projects and desire to make a difference in the world around them is commendable,” said Dr. David Evans, NSTA executive director. “Thank you to all who participated in this year’s ExploraVision program—the students, but equally as important, the coaches, teachers, judges and reviewers—all of whom play a vital role in fostering the spirit of discovery inherent in ExploraVision.”

Medical Innovations

A theme among this year’s winning teams’ projects was their focus on innovations surrounding the detection and treatment of diseases.

A team of ninth graders from The Nueva High School in San Mateo, Calif. developed “A Cure for Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection.” Their invention is a one-use cure for HBV that contains a CRISPR-Cas9 cocktail specific to the genes for HBx (an important protein coded by the HBV genome) and NTCP (the receptor used by HBV to enter a patient’s liver cell) using lipid nanoparticles targeted to the liver. Inhibiting HBx and NTCP with CRISPR-Cas9 will eliminate the virus from infected liver cells and cure patients with a single delivery.

Another team, made up of twelfth graders from Jericho High School in Jericho, New York, designed the Cancer BAN-R: Blood and Nerve Regeneration. The Cancer Blood and Nerve Regeneration (BAN-R) device is a novel graphene patch which incorporates laser sensors, microneedles, nanotechnology and growth hormones to provide noninvasive transdermal delivery of specialized therapeutics, restoring nerve and tissue function after chemoradiation.

The Common Good

Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children ages one to four, the second cause of accidental death for children up to 14 and fifteenth overall for children. To stop any additional deaths from occurring, a team of third graders from Saint Joseph School in Seattle, Wash., created iSuit, an adaption of the traditional swimsuit that will use artificial intelligence to release oxygen to inflate the suit and use radio waves to send a message if conditions of distress are transmitted.

Another team of fourth graders from Lee Elementary in Salem, Ore., seeks to help societies across the globe combat noise pollution. Exposure to continual noise can cause stress, poor concentration, hearing loss and heart conditions. Recent research states that noise impacts children’s learning. “RMF: Leaves Changing Shapes” (Relinquit Mutatio Figura) uses liquid-elastomers (LCEs) and 4-D printing to create a leaf shape-shifting system to absorbs sound waves. RMF also returns natural environmental sounds into communities, ultimately absolving health risks associated with noise pollution.

A team of eighth graders from the University of Illinois Laboratory High School in Urbana, Ill., sought to address the continuous issues motorists experience as a result of damaged road systems. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, each motorist spends $290 on average on car repairs due to deteriorating roads each year, totaling $410 billion per year. The team’s invention, “NewFerro Roads,” will revolutionize road maintenance by using an advanced magnetic nanofluid, Phase-Mag Fluid (PMF), which will allow roads to self-repair.

Sustainability of the Future

A major topic in this year’s projects was inventions that foster a sustainable future. Higher-than-ever demand for natural resources such as coal, oil and gas means that we are quickly running out of finite sources of energy. Several of this year’s national winners sought to lessen humanity’s annual demand for natural resources.

One team of sixth graders from Coulson Tough K-6 School in The Woodlands, Texas, proposed Algatiles, an effective roofing alternative that counters anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Another team of ninth through twelfth graders from Mission Vista High School in Oceanside, Calif., engineered “M. Luteus” to lessen the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide. This method to reduce the amount of these gases in the atmosphere by genetically modifying the bacteria Micrococcus luteus strain ATCC 4698 is achieved by inserting carboxysomes and soluble methane monooxygenase (sMMO) operons into its genes.

Finally, a team of third graders from the University School of Nashville in Nashville, Tenn., designed the APCD (Autonomous Pollution Control Drone), which proposes the creation of an autonomous drone that combines mechanical and biological processes to reduce pollution in the oceans. The APCD will ultimately ensure that the oceans and seas will effectively be able to regulate global weather and continue oxygen production for years to come.

ExploraVision Prizes

The eight national winning teams are comprised of a first-place winner and second-place winner from four groups based on grade level. Members of first-place nationally winning teams each receive a $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond (at maturity). Members of second-place nationally winning teams will each receive a $5,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond (at maturity). Canadian winners receive Canada bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars. All first- and second-place national winners will receive an expense-paid trip for themselves, their parents/guardians, teachers and mentors to Washington, D.C. for an awards weekend from June 5-7, 2019. Activities will include a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and a Science Showcase during which the students will display and demonstrate their winning ideas. The Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision weekend will culminate with an awards ceremony where students will be formally recognized for their creativity and accomplishments.

For 27 consecutive years, ExploraVision has helped children to expand their imagination and have fun while developing an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at an early age. To learn more, visit https://www.exploravision.org/.

For more information or to access an application for the 2019/2020 program, visit www.exploravision.org or email exploravision@nsta.org. Follow ExploraVision on Twitter at @ToshibaInnovate or join the ExploraVision Facebook Fan Page at www.Facebook.com/ToshibaInnovation.

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision 2019 National Winners

2019 First-Place Winners

Grade K-3: iSuit
Saint Joseph School, Seattle, Washington
Website: https://nstawebdirector.wixsite.com/isuit

Grade 4-6: Algatiles
Coulson Tough K-6 School, The Woodlands, Texas
Website: https://www.algatiles.com/

Grade 7-9: Cure for Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection
The Nueva High School, San Mateo, California
Website: https://nstawebdirector.wixsite.com/hepativir-b

Grade 10-12: Engineering M. Luteus to Fix the Greenhouse Gases Methane and Carbon Dioxide
Mission Vista High School, Oceanside, California
Website: https://nstawebdirector.wixsite.com/modifiedmluteus

2019 Second-Place Winners

Grade K-3: The APCD (Autonomous Pollution Control Drone)
University School of Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee
Website: https://nstawebdirector.wixsite.com/apcdproject

Grade 4-6: RMF: Leaves Changing Shapes (Relinquit Mutatio Figura)
Lee Elementary, Salem, Oregon
Website: https://nstawebdirector.wixsite.com/leaveschangingshapes

Grade 7-9: NewFerro Roads
University of Illinois Laboratory High School, Urbana, Illinois
Website: https://nstawebdirector.wixsite.com/nfrs

Grade 10-12: Cancer BAN-R: Blood and Nerve Regeneration
Jericho High School, Jericho, New York
Website: https://nstawebdirector.wixsite.com/ban-r

About Toshiba

Toshiba Corporation leads a global group of companies that combines knowledge and capabilities from over 140 years of experience in a wide range of businesses—from energy and social infrastructure to electronic devices—with world-class capabilities in information processing, digital and AI technologies. These distinctive strengths position Toshiba to become one of the world’s leading cyber-physical-system technology companies. Guided by the Basic Commitment of the Toshiba Group, “Committed to People, Committed to the Future,” Toshiba contributes to society’s positive development with services and solutions that lead to a better world. The Group and its 132,000 employees worldwide secured annual sales surpassing 3.9 trillion yen (US$37.2 billion) in fiscal year 2017.

About Toshiba America, Inc.

Founded in 1965,  Toshiba America, Inc.  (TAI) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Toshiba Corporation and the holding company of six Toshiba operating companies that offer a broad range of products and solutions for the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. The seven companies, which along with TAI are known collectively as Toshiba America Group, are Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (Semiconductor solutions), Toshiba America Energy Systems, Corp. (Power generation solutions), Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. (Internet of Things and Solutions), Toshiba America LNG Corporation (Liquefied Natural Gas), Toshiba International Corporation (Industrial, power electronics & transmission & distribution solutions) and Toshiba America Research, Inc.(R&D).

About NSTA

The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence in science teaching and learning, preschool through college. NSTA’s membership includes approximately 50,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business representatives and others involved in science education.

Contact:

Laura Davenport
Ketchum
(202) 835-9433
laura.davenport@ketchum.com

Kate Falk
National Science Teachers Association
(703) 312-9211
kfalk@nsta.org

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