lican in the year 2050 will be a vital, well designed city of 100,000, featuring people-transport slides between its buildings, solar green houses and windmill farms.
These are some of the many ideas advanced by Central Oregon students as part of Inventerprise 2001, the tenth annual creative science contest sponsored by Bend Research Inc.
The purpose of the contest is to build business-education partnerships to enrich students' educational experiences; awards are given to the top entries in each grade level.
For the contest students throughout the region were challenged to design New Millican, a bustling city in the year 2050. Alternatively, they could submit useful inventions from scratch or from a variety of spare parts.
Some 475 students from public and private schools in Bend, Redmond, Prineville, LaPine, Culver and Terrebonne created more than 400 entries.
The ideas were presented as models, posters, videotapes, computer programs, drawings, reports and essays. These ideas were judged upon originality, feasibility, usefulness and development of concept. Students kindergarten through 12th grades participated individually and in groups.
According to the youth of central Oregon, the city of New Millican will include a recycling plant that will separate trash into basic components using membranes, metal melting units and float tanks.
It will have a canine amusement park to provide hours of entertainment for its canine friends. And the city's power will come from a vast windmill farm. The windmill blades will be covered with photovoltaic cells for additional power generation.
Students also tackled new ways to address energy and transportation needs. One student proposed harnessing exercise bicycles to generate energy to drive fans or perform other useful tasks. Other ideas included air-powered cars, trains that float on a cushion of air, solar-powered fan vehicles, and rocket shoes.
Students even found answers to simpler problems. One proposed a robot with infrared heat sensors and methane gas detectors to patrol the backyard and clean up after Fido.
Another designed a pulley device to help store her bicycle in the garage. Another designed a headlight on his skateboard to get home safely after dark.
A total of 57 ideas were chosen as winners among the 400 entries.
The winners receive specially designed T-shirts and will be invited to a special Science Night presentation at Bend Research.
Additionally, a $500 scholarship will be offered to the top high school entry. This years' winner is Crook County High School sophomore Taalkeus Blank.
Blank's challenge was to create a futuristic mode of transportation using limited resources and obeying the laws of physics. Also, the vehicle could not be powered using fossil fuels or any non-renewable resource. Supplied only with parts from an old rusted car, rubber bands and magnets, Blank wrote an essay and drew up a design of his creation _ an ingenious floating car. Propelled with rows of magnets, Blank's "car" steers with electromagnetic currents and hovers with opposite attractions.
"I've always liked physics, inventing new things and seeing how things work," says Blank in explanation of what boosted him to enter the Inventerprise. "I learned about Inventerprise in the school announcements; I thought it sounded like something fun to do."
Blank prides himself on his winning invention and believes in the importance of addressing future problems now, his environmentally friendly magnet car is an example of one such solution. "I hope a vehicle like this can actually happen and be built. I'm sick of the smog and pollution," he said.
If any more invention contests arise, Blank is sure to enter them with his inventive ideas. He indicated that he plans on utilizing the scholarship and may even steer his career goals toward inventing. "If I could get paid for this stuff I'd do it until I retire." he said.