Technological forward momentum is a natural byproduct of modern education, which is why students are perfectly suited to be today’s innovators. Initiatives such as PBS’s Invention Education have proven that students are more than capable of breaking new ground with nothing more than nuts and bolts.
As parents and teachers, we are in the perfect position to facilitate progress by introducing innovation-centric curriculums into modern schooling. To justify that, let’s take a look at some of the most creative and practical examples of innovational technologies invented by students in recent years.
1. Walking-Powered Energy Generator
A 14-year-old high school student from Naga City had the idea of harvesting electric energy by simply walking. The idea came from the fact that we all walk daily, so why not make the most of it? The device, which relies on Bluetooth to track the user’s walking patterns, was built in just four months and is ideally suited for runners. While the device hasn’t found mass application since, it is a great example of how a student with a simple, applicable idea can innovate.
2. “Spiderman” Suit for the US Military
The Mission Impossible movies served as the direct inspiration for a Utah State University student when he decided to design a Spiderman-like suit for school. In the movies, Tom Cruise often uses sticky gloves to scale walls and solve life-threatening situations, so why not try and replicate the technology? The US Military quickly picked up on the project and decided to acquire the patent from the student team in charge of developing the project. This is a good example of how inspiring students to be innovative can be useful both for their careers and society at large.
3. Submersible Device for Exploration
The fact that the student’s age doesn’t matter in innovation comes from eighth-graders who created a submersible with the help of their teacher. Dr. Robin Ellwood and her team of eight-grade students designed a remote underwater vehicle (ROV) which was then used in exploring Antarctica. Her testimonial shows that even adults can be intimidated in face of unknown technology, but she persevered with the help of her students. Even she didn’t know what the final product of their research would be. However, the results spoke for themselves in practice.
4. Germ-Free Door Handle
As we go further into 2021, we slowly move away from the COVID-19 pandemic, which changed how we perceive social interaction. While this invention predates that, it is still a noteworthy example of students’ innovation with practical mass application. A pair of Pittsburgh students invented a door handle that eliminates 99.8% of germs once it has been used by someone. The production costs of such a handle at the time of the invention was $13, making it a great investment to pursue around the globe.
5. Ocean Waste Collecting Device
It’s widely known that oceans around the world contain billions of tons of waste which is slowly destroying our planet. This was the mindset shared by a 19-year-old student who came up with a prototype for a boom, a floating waste collecting device. His idea was to launch said booms from ports worldwide and have them collect waste while letting marine life pass through it unharmed. Collected waste could then be recycled, mainly in the form of plastic, and used again while reducing manufacturing pollution.
What Can You Do to Inspire Student Innovation?
We’ve taken a look at some of the most creative innovative technologies which came from ambitious young students. Now, how can you inspire your own student body to innovate and bring their ideas into life? The first step would be to encourage them to write down ideas and develop them through constant editing. With the help of top essay writers, their written papers can turn into objective, practical ideas which you can develop in teams. Beyond that, some things you can procure to boost innovation with your students include:
Supplies of raw materials (cables, cardboard, paints, textile, etc.)
Presentations on innovation done by students such as themselves
Mentoring students to help them clear up their ideas
Opportunities to present their ideas to others and discuss them
Being there to tell them it’s okay to fail at innovating and try again
We often don’t give young minds the credit they deserve when it comes to creativity and out-of-the-box thinking on global issues. While not all of them will have practical, mass appeal, those that do are proof that they can change the way we use technology.
Students around the world undoubtedly have plenty of ideas on how to solve different social and technological issues but no platform to explore them. Let’s enable them through support systems and the innovative technologies they come up with will inevitably shape the world we live in for the better.