“Kids these days…”
While the phrase is often expressed with a disapproving nod about some teenager who took a weird selfie, there are Gen Z-ers out there who are proving that they’re the ones who will change the world (for the better!).
Kids these days certainly prove that you don’t need a high school diploma to start solving global issues. Check out our shortlist of four genius teen inventors and their Eureka moments.
Ann Makosinski, a 16-year-old high school sophomore at St. Michaels University School in Victoria, British Columbia, created a flashlight that is powered by the human hand. Yup, you read that right!
All of us naturally give off body heat, but it is usually not enough to power anything (not even an airpod). While there are a lot of manually-powered products out there that need cranking or pedaling, her invention lights up a handy dandy flashlight the moment your hand touches it!
Fun fact! Makosinski came up with the idea to help out a Filipino friend who couldn’t study due to no electricity after sundown. For Makosinski, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to apply what she learned from her energy-harvesting experiments (generating energy from external sources such as sunlight, wind, and body heat) since the seventh grade. What a friend! *finger heart*
Millions of people around the world do not have access to drinking water and electricity—often because they’re living in a remote area. Well, not if 17-year-old Cynthia has anything to say about it. She wanted to address the serious water pollution and energy crisis so she did.
According to the website, Interesting Engineering, she created “a H2Pro device that harnesses photocatalysis (using light to speed up chemical reactions) to sterilize water”. In short, it cleans water while generating energy from the waste, potentially solving two global problems in one go. What an impressive feat!
We’ve seen how dangerous plastic is to sea creatures (#savetheturtles). Well, 19-year-old Boyan Slat from the Netherlands thought he could turn the situation around. His device is called The Ocean Cleanup Array! It concentrates the plastics to one area so it can be eliminated. According to his site, “the system consists of a long floater that sits at the surface of the water and skirt that hangs beneath it.”
What’s amazing is that The Ocean Cleanup Array takes advantage of the natural oceanic movement (read: the wind, waves, and current) to catch the plastics with the system and a sea anchor. Now that’s going way beyond refusing to use plastic straws!
Literacy is important for kids to broaden their perspective. Luckily, assistive technology makes learning and communicating possible for visually impaired children. But the problem is, most Braille printers cost a whopping $2,000. That’s around Php 100,000 per device!
That’s where Braigo saves the day! It is a low-cost Braille printer (around $200) invented by Shubham Banerjee from California who was just 12 years old at the time.
Using a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit and some electric parts, he was able to build a working prototype all by himself in his kitchen. Thanks to his little experiment, a lot of people will be able to enjoy portable Braille printers to have more access to reading materials and careers.
Whether they were inspired to help out a friend, a family member, their community, or the entire world, the “kids these days” are raring to take charge of their own future. Want to help out the world through your own innovative solutions? You, too, can shape the world we live in. Check out these STEM careers with an impact!
Find more information about the Gen Z youth through Edukasyon.ph, and check out our Commune blog section for more tips and advice that will help you succeed in your education-to-career journey.