Children Trying to Make the Impossible Possible
Nanobots to stop pain messages from getting to the brain and extending life expectancy through studying the genetics of mole rats are just some of the inspiring winning ideas in an X Prize contest for children.
X Prize Foundation, United States
The X Prize Foundation has given us some of the most thrilling innovation contests of recent times, leading to groundbreaking inventions in numerous fields, such as spaceflight, lunar research and oil cleanup. In addition to the winners and other participants, the contests inspire many more innovators around the world. This includes the younger generation.
Creating the Future from a Young Age
In fact, you are never too young to start thinking about problem solving in a big way and the X Prize Foundation has recognized this by reaching out to children. In 2015, XPRIZE Challenge invited kids aged 8-17 to imagine themselves in the future and to report back one new invention, how it works and its impact in the future. They could do this via video, image or a story.
"We are excited to launch the Create Tomorrowland XPRIZE Challenge, which gives young people a platform to voice and depict their creative, bold and imaginative problem-solving inventions of the future," said Trish Halamandaris, Senior Vice President Marketing & Communications at XPRIZE.
The open innovation contest was split into two divisions, junior and senior, and submissions were judged on innovation, creativity and presentation.
Among the six winning ideas were:
The era of pain is over - nanobots inside the body to block pain. They do this by preventing pain messages from getting to the brain.
Magnēs Lithos Chair - a wheelchair that makes moving from A to B a million times more efficient for disabled users. The chair uses the Earth's magnetic field to repel it off the ground, allowing it to travel through different terrains and up stairs.
Changing the world through genes - life expectancy in the future was increased thanks to the application of genetic technology using specific genes from long-lived mole rats. This technology allowed the greatest thinkers to live longer lives, giving them the time they needed to solve major world problems.
Each winner received a check for $3,000 and a mentorship experience with a leader in their area of interest. The crowdsourcing contest was organized with Walt Disney Studios and Disney Citizenship and tied in with a Disney movie release, ‘Tomorrowland’, a science-fiction mystery adventure.
Heading Toward the Future at Top Speed
While the attendant publicity will have no doubt been helpful to the movie, the real winners were many of the children who took part. They were given an exciting and very public platform to air their ideas as well as heaps of encouragement from both Disney and the X Prize Foundation.
After all, they are the next generation of dreamers and thinkers and will be building the future that society will be living in. And maybe through contests like this, that future will get a little bit closer and be a little bolder than we imagine.
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