HOUSTON, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four teams of high school students received top honors after competing in the 2013 Innovation Summit, which was held April 10-13 at NASA Johnson Space Center. The summit, led by The Conrad Foundation, gave students around the world an opportunity to present their products and services to benefit humanity in the final round of the 2013 Spirit of Innovation Challenge.
The Conrad Foundation's Spirit of Innovation Challenge celebrates the life and entrepreneurial spirit of former astronaut Pete Conrad. Presented by Lockheed Martin and Battelle, the annual program is a multi-phase, business and technical plan competition, free and open to students aged 13-18 from around the world.
NASA utilizes Space Act Agreements to partner with external organizations, such as The Conrad Foundation, to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies as well as further NASA's goals for the future of space exploration.
This year, 20 finalist teams were selected from a pool of more than 200 entries from 44 countries and throughout the United States. The student inventors designed products such as the Magnitact, which helps colleagues digitally collaborate in real time over multiple digital devices, and modular homes called LandRAFTS, which use retired shipping containers as a foundation for self-sustaining homes in the wake of natural disasters.
The following four teams were named this year's Pete Conrad Scholars:
Aerospace and Aviation, presented by Lockheed Martin
Team M^3 from Warren High School in Downey, Calif., for the "Sleep Halo," a low technology, but highly innovative product that has the potential to revolutionize the air travel industry.
Cybertechnology and Security, presented by Battelle
Team AirCOM from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, N.C., for its suite of electronic detection products that uses international crowd-sourced data to inform the public of dangerous levels of airborne pollutants.
Energy and Environment
Team Eco-Cooker from Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami for developing a clean, self-sustaining methane production system that stores bio-waste to produce a combustible gas that works as a low-cost energy and heating source
Health and Nutrition
The Back Straight Boys from Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, for seeking to improve the problem of computer-related musculoskeletal pain and injury through use of the "Posture Pad."
In addition to team product presentations, this year's event featured a special presentation by former astronaut Alan Bean, as well as a personal message from International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn, currently orbiting the Earth for Expedition 35. Students also participated in Fireside Chats with CEOs, inventors, cyber security experts, astronauts, explorers and physicians.
The Conrad Foundation will award each winning team with an innovation grant of $10,000 to continue product development and a one-year affiliate membership to Sigma Xi. All teams competing as finalists will be considered for the Conrad Portal, a mentoring program designed to assist teams in the practical development of their product. Following further review of team business plans, the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation will provide one finalist team with a $5,000 award. Additional Innovation Summit honors include Skybox Out-of-the-Box Challenge and the Nancy Conrad Innovative Teacher of the Year.
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