Second-graders Kristen Holmes,8,Grace Nobles,8,and kindergartener Sophia Nobles,6,from Tampa Christian Community School. took second place in the K-3 division ExploraVision Awards Program for creating what they call the Smart Touch First Aid Kit.
In an emergency,it could dial a nurse,check the inventory of first-aid supplies and contain special instructions for a number of ailments.
Their creation brought them to Washington for the competition.
“We wanted to have an idea that helped people,and we decided to do a first-aid kit because they haven't changed much in 100 years,” Grace said.
Bill Nye,the Science Guy,is a long-time supporter of the competition. He said he has great hopes for the Smart First Aid Kit.
“When I saw this invention,it makes me wonder why we don't have something like this already,” Nye said. “I think that invention will very well show up at your local pharmacy before the decade is out.”
The kit – just a prototype for now – would provide information about treatments for injuries and emergencies and have a communication device using touch screen and wireless Internet for summoning
help or seeking advice from medical professionals. It would have a GPS device and instructions in Braille.
Mentor and mom,Shawn Nobles,37,said she was ecstatic when she found out that girls had won again. Last year,Grace won first place in her age group with two other teammates.
“I cried because it was so exciting to see them learning and growing in confidence,” Nobles said. “They went from looking down at their feet to being able to present in a crowd of more than 300 people and have full confidence.”
The girls' confidence was boosted after placing in the top ranks of 15,000 applicants,then getting to the regional competition and creating the prototype and a website.
ExploraVision co-creator Arthur Eisenkraft,a science professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston,said that inventions like the Smart First Aid Kit make the competition,now 18 years old,all worth it.
“Every year the students surprise us with their innovation,creativity with their sense of social conscience,” Eisenkraft said. “Their ability to think about problems that exist and come up with a solution still amazes me year after year.”
Winners of the competition spent Thursday through Saturday in Washington. They attended many events,including a tour with Nye,an awards program where teams showed off their inventions and a gala to celebrate the students' accomplishments.
ExploraVision is the world's largest K-12 science competition. The Tampa team members each won a $5,000 savings bond and a computer for their school. The first place team won a $10,000 savings bond each,plus other prizes.