The 2013 White House Science Fair

May 3, 2013 – Every spring for the last three years the White House hosts the White House Science Fair where children and teens can show off their amazing inventions that are made from everyday commercially available items. This year’s fair took place on April 22 and was hosted by President Obama, who invited more than 100 students who excel in science, math, engineering and technology.

This year’s fair boasted a cheap and easy test to detect pancreatic cancer, pint-sized wind turbines, and other awesome inventions that nearly left Obama speechless. “Let me just start by saying, in my official capacity as President: This stuff is really cool,” he said.

Here are our favourite inventions from the 2013 White House Science fair:

  • Seventeen-year-old Easton LaChapelle made a 3D-printed, mind-controlled prosthetic arm for only $250! A brain-wave-reading device is attached to a person’s forehead and, using a system of blinks and changing levels of concentration, they can move the prosthetic arm with their mind. The level of the person’s concentration controls how much the arm moves and two eye blinks prepare the arm to do so. The prosthetic arm can even learn and remember a person’s movement patterns and can help make those movements easier.
  • Fourteen-year-old Jonah Kohn created a device that helps the hearing impaired listen to and enjoy music. Kohn was inspired to make his device– called a tactile-sound device– when he realized that musical vibrations can be felt in the skin. He decided to strum his guitar and then bite down it to “feel” the notes. His device attaches to different points of a person’s body and filters sound into different frequencies as it hits different body parts. People who are hearing impaired have been able to hum the notes to a song even though they could not hear it!
  • Eighteen-year-old Kiona Elliot and 16-year-old Payton Karr invented a pedal-powered water filtering system for people in developing countries. It is fairly easy to transport and can provide clean water for up to 30 people in a 15-hour period. Karr and Elliot will be the first people in their families to go to college next fall.