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Meet The Middle Schoolers Who Will Make The World A Better Place

These STEM kids will make you seriously excited for the future.

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This year's Young Scientist Challenge was the ultimate middle school science competition.

These are the finalists whose projects rose to the top and won them a trip to 3M’s headquarters and an exclusive mentorship with a 3M scientist:

These are the finalists whose projects rose to the top and won them a trip to 3M’s headquarters and an exclusive mentorship with a 3M scientist:

1. Maanasa's invention, HARVEST, captures wind and solar energy and converts it into light.

Grade: 8*

2016 grand prize winner and America’s Top Young Scientist

Project: Inspired by the natural design of tree leaves, Maanasa secured leaf-like solar panels in a layered fashion onto a recycled water bottle. She hopes this device will be used as an energy solution in developing communities.

2. Mrinali created CPR Buddy, a low-cost simulator that ensures users are performing CPR correctly.

Grade: 8*

Project: Few people know how to apply CPR correctly. CPR Buddy is an assistive patch that provides instant feedback to assure that the user is correctly performing the technique. Attaching the CPR training device helps measure depth and rate of compression, as well as the force applied.

3. Amelia's reimagined soccer ball aims to help stroke victims regain their motor function, spatial awareness, and balance.

Grade: 8*

Project: The “Press-Sure Soccer Ball” works by having patients kick the ball, aiming it at a sensored platform. The ball uses sensory feedback to rebuild neural connections inside of the brain during rehabilitation physical therapy. The tool makes therapy more fun, while the sound immersion helps with better retention.

4. Kaien invented a bioplastic and biofuel made from pumpkins to help cut down pollution worldwide.

Grade: 7*

Project: The fuel is made with pumpkin seed oil, methanol, and a catalyst. This creates a glycerin byproduct that is then mixed with pumpkin starch and vinegar to create the bioplastic. All of the pumpkin is used to create two different products that have low environmental impact.

5. Meghna's Aquabot helps test and access hard-to-reach water sources.

Grade: 7*

Project: The Aquabot is a remote-controlled robot that uses various sensors to test for six water-safety features and transmits the data back to land. The device tests for pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids, oxidation reduction potential, gravity, and salinity.

6. Will invented a more affordable, environmentally friendly supercapacitor to store energy during and after natural disasters.

Grade: 8*

Project: This low-cost supercapacitor improves on existing technology to store energy. Will’s goal is for the innovation to one day provide light and water sterilization to families in developing or disaster-stricken communities.

7. Rohan invented microbial fuel cells to provide energy for impoverished communities.

Grade: 8*

Project: Mud-ricity uses naturally occurring bacteria in mud to generate electricity and harvest it through nanocables.

8. Sofia created an algorithm that helps detect if a patient will suffer from prescription side effects.

Grade: 7*

Project: The computer software uses a string-searching algorithm to search through a database and quickly eliminate prescription medications that will adversely react to a patient's unique pathology.

9. Sara invented a device for car seats that helps prevent heat-related deaths in children.

Grade: 8*

Project: Cool Baby uses sensors and Arduino (smart tech) to switch on cooling and alert parents when a baby is left in a hot car and at risk for vehicular heatstroke. It is integrated with a car seat and uses Bluetooth.

10. Rohit's invention filters pollution from diesel automobiles to help save lives.

Grade: 8*

Project: The invention is a new mat for mounting ceramic substrates used in emission control devices. The mat has potential beyond filters and could have widespread applications beyond the automotive industry.

*Grade at time of entry

Images courtesy of 3M

Do you know a young scientist in grades 5–8? If so, check out the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge to learn more about how to enter the 2017 competition. The grand prize winner takes home $25,000 and the title of America’s Top Young Scientist!