17 January is celebrated every year around the world as Kid Inventors Day. It is a fitting tribute that the date chosen for this celebration coincides with the birthdays of Nikolai Zhukovsky, the “father of Russian aviation”, and famed American academic Benjamin Franklin. The choice is made even more appropriate considering Franklin’s first invention––a pair of hand-operated wooden swimming fins––was created by the budding Renaissance Man when he was only 12 years old.
Every year more than half a million teens worldwide create something new or modify existing objects into fabulously useful inventions. At the Skolkovo International Gymnasium (IG Skolkovo) we encourage and support this multifaceted young talent.
To show you what we mean, we asked our grade 9 students to share what has inspired them in the creation of their own inventions, each of which with the potential to become the beginnings of the next successful startup; each promising to make our lives more interesting and more convenient. These innovations are, of course, the IB MYP Personal Projects.
Alexander Lavrenenko on the air of the MIR TV channel talks about his development-a mobile application that facilitates learning English. Photo: Gymnasium Skolkovo.
Author: Margarita Gavrik, grade 9.
“Drawing on statistical survey data, collected from teachers and students at our school, I was able to create a map showing the location of the most allergy-inducing trees and plant life located on the territory of the Skolkovo Innovation Centre,” explains Margarita.
The young innovator plans to make her map available to everyone, posting it on the website she created as part of her project. A trial version will be released at first, but then the full map will be accessible to any internet user interested in knowing the precise location of their “enemy-allergens” on the Skolkovo territory and avoiding harmful contact.
Margarita didn’t have to go far to find inspiration for her project. A seasonal allergy sufferer herself, she simply wanted to help others like her. Her map currently marks the locations of nine species of plant life, three particularly threatening for allergy sufferers: birch, alder and poplar trees. If the map is a hit among users, Margarita plans to expand her project, marking the locations of more allergy-inducing species and increasing the map’s coverage area to include nearby regions like Nemchinovki and Zarechya.
“Working model of an inventory robot”
Author: Ivan Slyunyaev, grade 9.
“In today’s world, the internet-store industry is growing incredibly quickly. This rapid growth, in turn, demands a more flexible and universal solution to the problem of product storage and retrieval. In this context, robots will become the optimal choice, as they simultaneously conserve human resources, minimize human error, and are able to work in conditions not conducive to human labor. A single robot can replace the work of four or five inventory workers,” explains Ivan. “But in Russia there are few examples of these systems in use, with those that do exist mostly produced by foreign companies. We need to develop our own answer to this problem, particularly for reasons of economic viability.”
A working prototype of the robot warehouse in the hands of its inventor. Photo: Gymnasium Skolkovo.
These smart machines need to be able to travel from their charging stations to the location of the product to be retrieved, collect and deliver said product to the appropriate shipping center, and finally return to their charging stations. With a working robot prototype built and ready, Ivan’s next step will be to debug his programming and participate in the School Project Laboratory at IG Skolkovo. It is possible that in the near future Ivan’s robot may be ready for large-scale production, and then it will be the giant internet-stores’ turn to compete for the right to implement his system.
“Prep app for the Russian State Chemistry Exam”
Author: Leonid Sokolov, grade 9.
“I began work on the app this last summer because I knew I was going to take the Russian State Chemistry Exam. I needed to prepare, but there was no product available at the time that could help me,” explains Leonid about how he got started.
Currently Leonid’s application contains 16 exam variations, each including 19 different problem types for a total of 304 practice questions. According to the developer, this is more than enough to help students successfully prepare for the exam. Once the application is completed, it will be made available for download on all major mobile operating systems.
“The app allows students to work through test questions in different topical areas. Student answers are automatically corrected, and the user is shown all his or her mistakes. In addition, the app includes a mistake analysis breakdown, highlighting the topical areas where the student is having the most difficulty, allowing him or her to focus on these specific areas.”
Looking ahead, Leonid’s application might be modified to support Russian State Exams in other subject areas, and external web links could be added to increase the breadth of preparation material. As for Leonid himself, he is off to study in the Oxbridge College of Natural Sciences. With such inventive students, the future development of the Sciences at our school and in Russia is certainly secure!
You can learn about one more IG Skolkovo student inventor, Aleksandr Lavrenenko, by watching the report on Kid Inventors Day from TV channel MIR.