After 11 months of hard work and dedication, the three teen microbiologists discovered that they could make crops yield more food and shorten the time it takes a plant to sprout from a seed — a process called germination. They shorten this time by infecting the crops with a bit of bacteria that’s been known to be advantageous to other crop plants.
Their results have huge implications for increasing agricultural productivity and easing world hunger.
The key to their success is a type of bacteria called rhizobia, which lives inside nodules, or the little nubs you sometimes see on plant roots. While we usually think of bacteria as dangerous, these are actually helpful to the plants. By converting nitrogen from the air into helpful compounds like ammonia, the bacteria aid plant growth. (Read more)
Recycled Hard Drive Instrument - Electric Waste Orchestra
Creating unconventional musical instruments from outdated computer parts and other e-waste
In the hubbub of Moogfest, we serendipitously ran into a guy wearing purple 3D-printed eyeglasses and holding something that looked like a keytar. Upon closer inspection, and with the house lights turned up, it turned out to be a musical instrument made from outdated computer parts. Colten Jackson wasn’t a speaker at the festival, but a passionate musician who made the trek to Asheville from Champaign, IL, to spread the word about his educational side project, Electric Waste Orchestra. Jackson reuses e-waste to make music in unconventional ways—for example, in this video he transformed six hard-drives and a number pad into a musical instrument (with help from Arduino hardware and Pure Data software) and jams along with a modular synthesizer. (Read more)
Meet Elif Bilgin, the 16-year-old winner of the Scientific American Science in Action Award and winner of the Voter’s Choice Award for the Google Science Fair 2013.
Wanting to reduce pollution in her home city of Istanbul, Elif manufactured a new environmentally-friendly bio-plastic that uses banana peels - an organic material - instead of traditional petroleum sources.
Given Tablets but No Teachers, Ethiopian Children Teach Themselves
With 100 million first-grade-aged children worldwide having no access to schooling, the One Laptop Per Child organization is trying something new in two remote Ethiopian villages—simply dropping off tablet computers with preloaded programs and seeing what happens.
The goal: to see if illiterate kids with no previous exposure to written words can learn how to read all by themselves, by experimenting with the tablet and its preloaded alphabet-training games, e-books, movies, cartoons, paintings, and other programs.
Early observations are encouraging, said Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC’s founder, at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week.
After several months, the kids in both villages were still heavily engaged in using and recharging the machines, and had been observed reciting the “alphabet song,” and even spelling words. One boy, exposed to literacy games with animal pictures, opened up a paint program and wrote the word “Lion.” (Read more)
You don’t need a 3-D printer to start your own DIY Club. Glue, saws, building materials, cardboard, construction paper and a little bit of elbow grease is all you really need to have fun. Challenge your club members to be adventurous and earn Skills you never thought to try. Here are some suggestions to help you plan an epic summer:
Filipino Teen Creates Shoes That Can Charge a Phone by Walking
A 15-year-old with an insatiable thirst for science has developed shoes that can charge your phone or any USB-powered device by simply walking.
Angelo Casimiro lives in the Philippines, a country still recovering from last fall’s Typhoon Haiyan.
"A lot of people are still suffering from poverty," he says in a YouTube video in which he demonstrates his invention. Some people have no access to electricity, he adds. For them, "a simple source of light is big," he says.
Now Angelo is creating a new way to generate power. He placed two pairs of physio-electric discs on the insole of each shoe. The discs produce energy when any type of pressure is placed on them. That energy is then channeled to a USB port, which an electronic device can plug in to.
"My insole generator does not use coils, motors, magnets, or anything that involves moving parts," he explains. "We have a pair (of physio-electric discs) mounted back-to-back. When you make back-to-back pairs, you’re able to harvest twice the power." (Read more)