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Science Technology Competition (North America)

Since 1992, Toshiba Group has worked with the National Science Teachers Association to host the ExploraVision Awards (EVA), a science and technology competition for k-1 to k-12 students in the United States and Canada.

Photo:Group photo
Prize Winning Teams

EVA is a competition aiming to encourage dreams in which children make predictions about technologies that they believe will become feasible within 20 years based on today's science and technology. The program celebrated its 25th anniversary in June 2017, commemorating its long history as a Japanese company's science education support program in North America. The number of participant totals about 388,000 in the past. In FY2017 applications from 15,243 children and 4,939 teams have been filed.

Many creative ideas that exceed adults' imagination are generated every year, such as a dream heart pacemaker that continues its function by using human body energy and magic pills that solve rapidly growing problems of electronic parts waste.

ExploraVision Awards (EVA) Introduction Video

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Schedule

Children form teams with their teachers, and commence entry procedures from September. For each theme, the teams study the existing science and technology, and using this as a base propose a technology that they would like to see realized in 20 years.
The proposals are then reviewed, and in March the best 24 teams are selected as Regional Winners. Following this, the proposals made by the Regional Winners are published on the EVA website, and in April four teams are selected to receive First Prize, and another four teams are awarded Second Prize. In June, the students in these eight teams, together with their teachers and families, are brought to Washington, DC for the awards event (EVA Weekend).

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Awards Event

On the day before the awards ceremony, the teams visit the offices of their local congressmen and senators and present their prizewinning reports.

Photo:Winning team
Senator Barack Obama (2006)

Photo:Winning team
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (2007)

Photo:Winning team
Senator Hillary Clinton (2003)

On the morning of the awards ceremony, each team is interviewed by its local television station, appearing live on the morning news.
They have the opportunity to explain their projects to VIPs and the media.
Politicians and celebrities from the U.S. and Canada send congratulatory letters and videos.
The prizewinning students are congratulated by VIPs at the awards party.

Photo:Winning team
The past EVA winners from New York on a Satellite Media Tour with Mr. Leland Melvin, a STEM advocate, an author, and a former NSTA astronaut.

Photo:Winning team
The 2nd place winners of grades K4-6 from Florida team explaining their project to VIPs.

Photo:The 1st place winners
The 1st place winners of grades K7-9 from Illinois team commended by the awards ceremony.

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Declared June 9, the day of the awards ceremony, we received the letter of appreciation from the Washington, D.C. mayor.

Photo:The awards ceremony
The letter of appreciation from Washington, D.C. mayor."

Photo:The past EVA winners
The past EVA winners

In commemoration of EVA's 25th anniversary, we chose 25 of the past 825 EVA winners, who are currently playing an active role in various fields, and invited them to a breakfast meeting. The selected winners included working adults and graduate students. We asked the 25 participants to talk about the effects of EVA on their lives as well as the accomplishments they had made. This meeting was also an opportunity for them to get to know the 2017 EVA winners better.

Comments of the past EVA winners who participated in the breakfast meeting:

Photo:Dr. MaryEllen Sun

Dr. MaryEllen Sun
(M.D., Abdominal imaging radiologist in Boston, EVA winner in 1993)

「ExploraVision is a very equalizing, because you don't have to have lots of resources. You just have to have an idea and dream it, so we didn't have to build a prostatic arm. It was wonderful to be recognized by the concept. My 2nd grade daughter is trying it out now. I guess she is the next generation of ExploraVision visionaries.」

Photo:Mr. Staton Piercey

Mr. Staton Piercey
(Entrepreneur in digital strategist the Founder of Coaelese, EVA winner in 1995)

「I learned being able to work with other people in a team and work through the steps and the process. And then work with the people you're communicating to and tell them why you should care and why it matters to them. Science can be confusing to lots of people, if you don't understand what's doing and why it matters to you. And without these specific skills I learned, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing now.」

Photo:Dr. Isaac Elias

Dr. Isaac Elias
(M.D., Pediatrician and Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Nephrology at British Columbia Children's Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, EVA winners in 1996-1998)

「ExploraVision frame science not as purely done by the scientists. There are certainly scientists who'd do well in a technology company and research. But it's the team of artists, communicators, writers, promoters, and marketers, and the people who build up the science that drive technology forward. Toshiba is a company who does this extremely well.」

Photo:Professor Anand Sarwate

Professor Anand Sarwate
(Ph.D., Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers University, EVA winner in 1998)

「I learned the role of the team - the importance of the complementally skills of the team. Not everyone has to be good at the same thing. That's important, because in my job, I put together a team of people with a complimentary skills in order to make a project success and investigate a new problem. I also learned the importance of communication. I work in technology communication; I teach a process of narrative and constructing the narrative around technology or science you're trying to do. ExploraVision project process is like writing a grant for a university project.」

Photo:Ms. Marina Addams

Ms. Marina Addams
(Acquisition Marketing Associate, EVA winner in 2006)

「We're were four girls in a team. I didn't realize it was a big deal until we came to DC and met former Senator Clinton. One of the things she told me was “I'm so excited that you guys are girls in STEM education. This is what we need and this is what the future needs.”」

Photo:Mr. James Savoldelli

Mr. James Savoldelli
(Engineering student at Stanford University, EVA winner in 2011)

「We've received a patent for a part of Subway Smart System in 2015 after four years we've won. We're currently still working on licensing it. We're planning a meeting to figure out what is best to approach it and what we're doing. ExploraVision mindset of design and thinking of how we're going to apply technology is still on-going for us.」

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2017 Prizewinners

1st Place Winners

GRADES K1-3 (Kindergarten to 3rd year elementary school)

Photo:GRADES K1-3

Theme: Float Tees
School: Bayville Intermediate - Bayville, NY
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death of children under the age of five. Swimming pools are the most common places for these fatalities. Some ways to prevent drowning include swimming lessons, surrounding pools with fences, and wearing personal floatation devices. Since life vests can be bulky and uncomfortable to use, many children may not want to wear them. This bad choice could possibly lead to injury or death. Also, these devices can be difficult to pack in a bag when going on a family vacation or to the beach. Our group has created a woven fabric that can be made into comfortable clothing, such as tee-shirts, that could help save lives. The threads used in making this fabric will have buoyant properties. We will turn to nature to help us solve this problem by researching how plankton stay afloat.

GRADES K4-6 (4th to 6th year elementary school students)

Photo:GRADES K4-6

Theme: RCBs (Robotic Cleaning Bivalves)
School: Bayville Intermediate - Bayville, NY
PCBs are cancer-causing chemicals found in the sediments of riverbeds and ocean floors. People dredge the ocean floor and riverbeds to remove these sediments. Dredging can actually cause more contamination. Dredging brings 10% of the water dredged with PCBs back into the river/ocean and pollutes the water again. Inspired by advances in biomimicry, we propose to build robotic bivalves to filter PCBs from rivers contaminated with them. Essentially, the robotic bivalves would function like living clams, mussels, or oysters but not actually involve them. Modeling bivalves, our invention would sink to the riverbed, remove harmful PCBs and when done, float back to the surface without involving or harming wildlife. Cyclodextrin sponges would collect the PCBs. PCBs are known to break down faster when bonded to Cyclodextrins[CDs]. This ethical invention targets the Hudson River but can be used in other rivers that have PCB contamination.

GRADES K7-9 (1st to 3rd year junior high school)

Photo:GRADES K7-9

Theme: BioKT: The Wearable Kinetic and Thermoelectric Energy Harvester
School: Next Generation School - Champaign, IL
Our BioKT is a wearable energy harvester utilizing human kinetic and thermoelectric energy to power cell phones. Cell phones have become an essential device for people and it is important to find an environmentally friendly way to charge the cell phone. BioKT will replace the conventional way of charging by plugging the phone into an outlet. In our BioKT, kinetic energy from our body can be harvested using a magnetostrictive kinetic-to-energy conversion system and thermoelectric energy can be harvested using a thermoelectric generator with pairs of super lattices and semiconductors. The harvested energy will be stored in an aluminum graphite battery with carbon nanotubes. Our BioKT watch will be a few millimeters thick and will fit all of the above components and a clock component on a strap. Using our BioKT, we will be able to charge our phones anywhere at any time using our body heat and daily movements.

GRADES K10-12 (1st to 3rd year high school)

Photo:GRADES K10-12

Theme: qSafe: Power Cell of the Future
School: West Salem High School - Salem, OR
Recently, dangerous explosions in lithium-ion batteries have put many lives at risk and caused several major product recalls affecting cell phones, airplanes, hoverboards, and laptops. Researchers and technology companies worldwide have developed solutions that are often impractical and fail to address the root causes of the explosions. Our qSafe power cell uses a system of surface acoustic waves that prevent hazardous lithium buildups, which cause short circuits and explosions in lithium-ion batteries. Furthermore, advances in chemistry will allow the qSafe power cell to perform with increased efficiency through the application of quantum nano-based materials. The use of these materials also solves ethical issues created by unsafe conditions in mining cobalt, which is utilized in current lithium-ion battery technology. The qSafe power cell will be a quantum leap into safe, efficient, and ethical battery technology.

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2nd Place Winners

GRADES K1-3 (Kindergarten to 3rd year elementary school)

Photo:GRADES K1-3

Theme: The Aller Watch
School: Nathanael Greene Elementary School - Stanardsville, VA
We recognized that people are spending a lot of money on medicines, doctor visits, and technology to help with food allergies. We also noticed that people don’t always know if they are allergic to a certain type of food. There are about fifteen million Americans suffering with food allergies today. This affects one out of thirteen children and costs about $25 billion a year. We are going to create the Aller Watch which is not just easily accessible but also very helpful to the problems we see. You can wear it on your wrist and it can test any food and will warn you if you’re allergic to it. The Aller Watch will make a warning sound if the test comes back positive. It will also provide the time, date, and games. This will allow people to wear it for more purposes and it won’t look like a medical device.

GRADES K4-6 (4th to 6th year elementary school students)

Photo:GRADES K4-6

Theme: The Coral Reef MGS: The Coral Reef Monitored Growth Sanctuary
School: Pine View Elementary - Land O'Lakes, FL
Although coral reefs comprise less than 2% of the ocean floor, approximately 25% of all ocean life depends on them. However, scientists estimate the coral has decreased by approximately 40% due to increased water temperatures and acidity. The Coral Reef Monitored Growth Sanctuary (M.G.S.) will help reefs grow, while providing scientists with consistent information about coral bleaching, ocean water temperature and acidity. It has three parts: an electrified graphene coral growth platform, solar and hydropower collectors, and an ocean water monitoring station. The electrified cage creates low level electricity which draws our calcium carbonate, helping coral to grow faster and stronger. The solar and hydropower collectors power the M.G.S. in an environmentally-friendly way. The monitoring station provides information about water temperature, acidity, and coral growth so scientists can respond to bleaching events. The Coral Reef M.G.S. will help restore coral reefs around the world.

GRADES K7-9 (1st to 3rd year junior high school)

Photo:GRADES K7-9

Theme: ScatScan: The Future of Microbiome Analysis
School: Commack High School - Commack, NY
The gut microbiome affects the well-being of humans and their ability to maintain homeostasis. Analysis of bacteria from this region of the body cannot currently be conducted with ease. Samples of fecal matter must be manually taken and a laboratory is needed to analyze the sample. Our proposed technology, the ScatScan, will provide a more convenient method of receiving microbiome data by utilizing home usage. The scanner, located inside of a toilet bowl, will have the ability to obtain a sample of fecal matter and identify the bacteria located inside using DNA sequencing technology. The scanner's results will be sent to an app on the user's smartphone. The ScatScan will allow for easier detection of gut microbiome health, and is therefore truly the future of microbiome technology.

GRADES K10-12 (1st to 3rd year high school)

Photo:GRADES K10-12

Theme: Using carbon nanospheres to reduce decoherence in quantum computing systems
School: Stuyvesant High School - New York, NY
While modern computers have revolutionized scientific research, their bits can only have values of 1 or 0, leaving them incapable of solving problems involving guessing potential answers and checking them. Conversely, quantum computers utilize qubits that can have values of any superposition of 1 and 0 and can therefore perform multiple calculations simultaneously. However, quantum particles are susceptible to environmental interference, which causes errors. It has been shown that by utilizing carbon nanospheres with electron spin lifetimes longer than 100 nanoseconds, such interference could be eliminated (“Carbon nanospheres”, 2016). To find such carbon nanospheres, an experiment could be carried out in which nanospheres are synthesized from various molecules and their electron spin lifetimes measured. If carbon nanospheres with a sufficiently long electron spin lifetime are found, they could be used to make qubits with spin states stable enough to perform calculations without being corrupted by external interference.

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