When eighth-graders Anika Patel and Angela Riggins found out
they won a 2010 ExploraVision Award, their all-girls school in Bellevue, Wash.,
erupted into cheers. But the winners? They were mostly in shock.
For the last 19 years, the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards
program has been used to encourage young students across the nation to excel in
science and technology. Students work in teams of 2 to 4 to develop and
research new forms of technology that could be used in the future.
Anika and Angela landed a first-place prize for their
creation, the EPPIC or Ecological Paper Printing and Ink Collector. The pair
wanted to find a way to help the environment and save trees. The result of all
of their hard work is “a futuristic laser printer system that would extract
used ink from paper by reducing the grapheme surface contact area, then reusing
the collected ink and paper to make new prints,” the girls tell me. The essential part of this invention is
the new ink technology, which sticks to paper but also has the ability to
release from it when necessary.
The girls were inspired by geckos, which can stick and
unstuck their feet, but were spurred on by the BP oil spill. A lot of printer
ink uses oil, the pair explains.
On Oct. 18, Anika and Angela traveled to Washington, D.C., to
participate in the White House Science Fair, where they were honored by
President Obama for their invention. Obama, they say, “was a genuinely nice
guy. He seemed to actually care about our project and what we had to say.”
Though they did both
receive a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond, they’re real reward comes in the comfort
of knowing that they’re doing their part to save the environment. Bravo, girls!