SAN JOSE, Calif.--In a showcase of cutting-edge research and innovation, with more than 1,600 students from 59 countries participating, Intel hosts the world's largest pre-college science competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, here this week. Projects exploring broad topics such as alternative energy, health care, and robotics are all vying for more than $4 million in prizes.
The finalists attending the ISEF were selected from 539 affiliated fairs from around the world and evaluated on site by more than 1,000 judges, selected from professionals of nearly every scientific discipline.
Following sessions in the morning, students were dismissed for lunch, then returned to their respective stations to wait for afternoon interviews with judges.
"Once again the Intel Science and Engineering Fair displays the remarkable creativity and ingenuity of young people from around the world," said Shelly Esque, vice president of Intel's Corporate Affairs Group.
Specifically oriented to research ideas and solutions to scientific problems facing the world in the future, categories included chemistry, advanced biology, health, and medicine, with some students presenting innovative fuel solutions, like this algae presentation.
David Campeau and Spencer Berglund have built an autonomous Rubix Cube solver using a Lego NXT Robotics System that uses a camera to scan the puzzle, a two-phase algorithm, and pruning table to find the solution.
Some projects at the fair are seeking ways to increase the efficiency of existing resources and improve the output of current infrastructure without having to invest too much money or resources into increased results.
Examining the details of wind energy, this project is taking a closer look at how we might be able to increase the energy transfer from small wind turbines.
Using a microcontroller-based system to monitor incoming power and system variables, energy to battery transfer efficiency is managed to extract the most energy from the system.
Best of category winners, selected from each of the 19 categories in the competition, receive an $8,000 award from the Intel Foundation. $1,000 grants are also awarded to the winners' schools and the affiliated science fairs they represent.
Researching concepts to determine the impact of various enhancement methods on the power produced by solar panels, these students are searching for ways to increase yields from solar panels.
By applying lenses, reflectors, and colored filters to solar panels, they hypothesized, the amount of light and wavelength of light entering the solar panel can be controlled so that it produces better and more efficient results, resulting in greater control over the management of solar energy, and potentially receiving up to 25 percent more power.
Observing the wing tips of birds inspired this research project, which seeks to reduce wind-induced drag through the addition of adaptive tip sails.
When a wing produces lift, the pressure on its topside is lower than the pressure on its underside, shedding swirling vortices off of the wing tips, inducing drag and making the wing work harder at generating lift.
By using wing tips to push the vortices further from the wing, the drag is reduced, resulting in a lower overall energy consumption.
Strolling down the energy and transportation aisles of the ISEF, the booths are lined with ideas for alternative energy. This project explores the use of sugarcane waste, called bagasse, as an alternative fuel source to coal.