A global call for high-school students to create human-centric solutions using “Whole System Design Thinking” or “Design Thinking” process.

Human-Centric Solutions

is an approach to product/solution development that puts people first and focusses on user needs, desires and abilities at the center of the development process.

Whole Systems Design Thinking

is an approach that aims to integrate social, economic and environmental factors, interrelationships, and phenomena into a comprehensive design solution.

Design Thinking

is a non-linear, iterative process which seeks to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions.

Effective Safe Air Disinfectant Purifier

Process Used: Whole System Design Thinking

Author: Isaac Yang, Grade 11

High School: Washington High School, Fremont, CA, USA

Publication Date: August 26, 2020

Abstract:

The device is both an air purifier and a disinfector while also being energy efficient and eco-friendly. The air purification features several layers each inspired by nature and having a role to play in cleaning the air. The disinfector features a revolutionary new idea of using enzymes to destroy pathogens. This new technology outclasses the use of UV-C radiation as people and life, in general, are able to coexist while the air is being disinfected. Innovation flows throughout the entire device, whether it be in the dye-sensitized solar cells, or the biodegradable filter wraps. By embracing nature’s time-tested designs, this solution is effective no matter how the pathogens evolve.

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Agricultural Land Recovery Methods

Process Used: Whole System Design Thinking

Author: Troy Anthony Jose, Grade 10

High School: James Logan High School, Union City, CA, USA

Publication Date: July 24, 2020

Abstract:

The research I conducted was based upon the problem of land degradation. Land degradation is when land is affected negatively with chemicals and salt changing the soil health, or when the soil is eroded. I specifically focused on the effects the agricultural industry has on land degradation. My solution includes smart resource management, with new technologies to help the efficiency of the farm. It also includes the removal of chemicals and salts, through the two filtration systems I have designed using nature’s models and strategies. The Smart farming methods depicted in my solution was also derived by studying nature’s models and offers sustainable ways to avoid further damage, control weeds and pests, and maintain the soil in a healthy state. All these parts of my solution when implemented together should help recover the land to its original healthy state while also preventing run-offs and reducing carbon emissions.

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Innovative Leaf Inspired Microgrids

Process Used: Whole System Design Thinking

Author: Erika Tragin, Grade 9

High School: Skyline High School, Sammamish, WA, USA

Publication Date: July 24, 2020

Abstract:

The current electric grid has been contributing to climate change, not well protected from natural disasters, and is not resilient, resulting in blackouts.

This research aims at solving the problems of our current electric grid. It was inspired by nature’s models that have evolved overtime to solve similar problems effectively and sustainably for structures, safety precautions, energy production, and distribution.

My design targets the use of renewable energy, flexible, resilient, and scalable microgrid structure, and modern computer systems to better benefit the economy and the consumers.  This solution uses the “Energy-as-a-Service” operational model and it addresses the 3Ds – Decentralize (Microgrid), Decarbonize (Renewable Energy Sources), Democratize (allow small energy production farms and consumers to contribute)- that are much needed in the energy sector.

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