More than your average science fair: medicine, robots - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

More than your average science fair: medicine, robots

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When you think science fair, you probably imagine rows and rows of poster boards like you saw in grade school. But this week at the Phoenix Convention Center, 1,600 students are showing off projects that are anything but boring.

These teenagers are the next Steve Jobs, the next Bill Gates of the world.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair hosts kids whose inventions are going to change the world. We met young scientists from right here in Scottsdale all the way to China.

You probably saw some pretty weird science projects growing up. Maybe you even made them. But at this science fair it's not about getting a good grade -- it's about changing lives.

Jake Andraka is 16 and he's one of the country's leading cancer researchers. He invented a $15 device that can read chemical composition.

"These have really cool applications, like medical diagnostics for diagnosing cancer or it could be used in environmental monitoring for looking at pesticides, or it could be used in counter terrorism approaches for preemptively detecting explosives," says Andraka.

"Everyone who's come to our project has had someone die from pancreatic cancer," says 15-year-old scientist Anvita Gupta.

Anvita Gupta and Sejal Aggerwal are only halfway through high school at Scottsdale BASIS, but they're already studying the proteins found in pancreatic cancer.

"Our discovery and our new method and drugs to possibly treat cancer -- can save time, money and can save lives."

Sohail Abdulla came from New Zealand to compete.

"I came home from school one day and my dad was cleaning our living room windows and he suffers from back and knee pain so I decided to develop a robot to clean the windows for him," says Abdulla. "They've fallen 500 feet and instantly died so the main idea of this is to develop it for high rise buildings."

The humble 17-year-old makes it sounds easy to just whip up a robot in 9 months.

"You place the robot in the bottom right corner, set it to go and it cleans your whole window."

Easton Lachappelle, 17, from Colorado made a robotic arm that I was able to control by wearing a special band to read brain waves and by raising my eyebrows.

"This is actually a glove-controlled robotic hand. It reads your brain waves by it picks up electric discharges from your brain in that forehead sensor and then it amplifies that up to something you can read then from there it separates it into different frequencies and different frequencies have to do with different regions of your brain and then from that you can really control anything," says Lachappelle.

By the way, Lachappelle's robotic arm is already selling for $400. He even has an offer from a beer company that wants to use his invention to serve their bottles.

The fair ends Friday and these students could win thousands of dollars in prizes for their inventions.

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