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Let’s be honest, when you think of an inventor you imagine some wacky scientist with grey hair (Doc Brown?) sat in his loft tinkering away on his latest gadget. They spend hours building wacky creations that fix the most pointless of problems, but they do it with honour and pride.
But this isn’t the real picture, inventors come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Below we look at 5 inventions created by youngsters and you’ll be surprised at how important these inventions are, or have been, to human civilisation.
Probably one of the most ubiquitous pieces of audio/visual technology prevalent in most living rooms today is the television. This invention was actually the brainchild of Philo Farnsworth who was only 14 when he came up with the idea of breaking down images into parallel lines of light, capturing them and transmitting them as electrons, then reassembling them on a screen for people to view (not bad for a 14 year old!).
At age 15 Farnsworth was sketching his ideas to make the colour television a reality. By the age of 21 Farnsworth transmitted his first electronic image and held the earliest public demonstration of a working TV.
19 year old Boyan Slat decided to take action against the large mass of plastic, junk and refuse drifting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With this in mind he set about creating the Ocean Sweeper, a boom system that floats on the surface of the ocean and collects debris and refuge using a combination of solar power and ocean waves.
This creation not only has the potential to collect millions of pounds worth of recyclable plastics but to clean the oceans and even clean up the quality of the worlds air.
Louis Braille was blind since he was three years old. Whilst studying at France’s National Institute for the Blind he was taught to read by touch with specially made books. Unfortunately these books were bulky and heavy, making them almost impossible to read.
After a visit from a French soldier in 1821 to teach the children about sonography, Braille spent much of his time furthering his knowledge of the subject.
When he was only 15 years old, he invented a basic system of small raised dots that could be read by touch alone. It was easier for the blind students to learn as opposed to sonography and pretty soon, it became the standard format of language at the school and eventually, the world.
No list can be complete without a tech company on here. In 2003 at the age of 19, Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook whilst studying at Harvard University. The site grew in popularity and soon it was being used by other Ivy League establishments and eventually colleges everywhere. After significant investment and development, it was eventually opened up to the public.
The importance of this invention is still being felt today as Facebook has completely transformed the way younger generations communicate and interact with each other. It’s allowed us to reconnect with old friends in ways we never thought we could, it’s also used as a news source as well as a way to find jobs.
Pancreatic Detection Tool
15 year old Jack Andraka invented a diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer. The test is 28 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive, and over 100 times more sensitive than any other diagnostic test in existence. It works by using a small dipstick probe that uses just a sixth of a drop of blood and senses a protein called mesothelin produced by the cancer, taking just five minutes to complete a test.
Considering most pancreatic diagnoses (85%) are made too late, this invention, pending clinical trials, has the ability to save many thousands of lives.
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