Science/technology competition announces 20th anniversary regional winners

The 20th annual Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Program today announced its 24 Regional Winners for 2012.

Each year, many ExploraVision teams tackle major issues facing the world, such as the environment, energy efficiency and education. Important health issues are often top-of-mind. This year, for example, a team of 4-6th grade students from Sacred Heart School in Hartsdale, NY, developed an idea for a chewy innovation in health care called Strep-A-Gum: An Effective, Delicious Way to Test for Strep Throat. A tasty alternative to conventional, often gag-inducing swab tests for Strep Throat, the medical gum would change colors in the presence of Streptococcus, improving the test experience for patients and helping reduce the spread of the infection. The Walking Stick for the Blind, envisioned by a team of K-3rd grade students from Willow Grove Elementary in San Diego, would allow the visually impaired to get out and about on their own, with a built-in brail keyboard that would provide directions, plus a GPS navigation system to calculate routes and provide voice directions. The Scar-Aid, imagined by a team of 7-9th grade students from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA, is a chemical mediator bandage that would use a three dimensional matrix of chemicals to prevent hypertrophic and keloid scar formation after burns, surgery or other traumas. A second team of students from Thomas Jefferson High also won the Regional award, this time in the 10-12th grade category, for their project: Using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Corneal Endothelial Damage. The new method of treating the vision-threatening condition would inject special stem cells into the eyes endothelial layer in order to regenerate it and help restore clear vision.