Catch & Release
‘Face Brace’ takes Anchorage 6th graders to finals of national tech contest
Four 6th grade students from Rogers Park Elementary School in Anchorage are among 24 regional winning teams in the 14th annual Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Awards program, one of the world’s largest science and technology competitions. The team—made up of Anchorage students Sean Doyle, Johna Rutz, Bryan Wright, and Leif Monnett—is among 24 finalists chosen from a field of 4,503 entries, representing the participation of 13,942 students from the United States and Canada.
The winning Anchorage team’s project, the “Face Brace,” proposes a technology that would help patients with severe facial burns recover more fully.
The program, sponsored by Toshiba and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) asks students to imagine ideas for future technologies that could exist in 20 years. This year’s regional winning teams envisioned a broad range of technological innovations with the goal to improve the quality of life in the future. Winning ideas ranged from an advanced security system that detects intruders through brain wave activity to a Hurricane “helper” that uses sugar cane to help counteract the effect of dangerous storms. Others included new treatments for glaucoma, paralysis and Tourette’s Syndrome—and even a robotic fruit-picker!
Coached by teacher John Baldwin, the students from Rogers Elementary School envision an innovative medical treatment called the Face Brace, which would relieve pain and promote healing of severe facial burns. Molded to match facial contours, the ultra-thin lightweight mask made of space-age material would provide medication and oxygen under pressure through a transdermal gel that would seal the mask to the patient’s face.
At the regional level, a panel of 60 judges, including science educators, scientists and engineers, evaluated the written entries and selected 24 regional winners. The projects were judged on innovations that combined imagination with scientific principles.
For the next phase of the competition, the winning team, along with students from the other 23 regional winning teams, will create working Web sites to convey their ideas. Eight finalist teams will be selected in May (four first- and four second-place winners). Students on each of the four first-place teams will each receive a $10,000 US Savings Bond (series EE Savings Bonds issued at $5,000). Students on second-place teams will receive a $5,000 US Savings Bond (series EE Savings Bonds issued at $2,500). First-and second-place Canadian winning teams will each receive Canada Savings Bonds of comparable issue price respectively (based on current exchange rate at time of purchase). All eight finalist teams, along with their coaches and families, will be invited to attend the ExploraVision Gala Awards Weekend in Washington, D.C. in June in addition to receiving their prizes.
For more information or an application for 2006, call 1-800-EXPLOR-9 or visit www.exploravision.org.