The changes COVID-19 has forced on our society have inspired several semi-finalists’ innovations submitted to this year’s Youth Innovation Showcase. From biodegradable masks to sanitizing boxes to a device that protects first responders from contracting COVID, this year’s students adapted quickly to address the challenges this past year posed.
Hayden Persad, a student from Prince Charles Secondary School in West Kootenay, said he was inspired to make his innovation, the Pathogen Barrier Device, when he learned that bystanders and rescuers were not doing CPR because they worried they would get COVID-19. “I hope my innovation can ensure no cardiac arrest victim dies from lack of bystander CPR,” Persad said.
Caio de Figueiroa, a student from W.J. Mouat in the Fraser Valley, came up with a UV-C Sanitizing Box, which he called “Saving Lives and Keyboards Too.” The device sanitizes everyday equipment, which helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. De Figueiroa said the pandemic has inspired a lot of creativity for him. “COVID-19 inspired my latest science fair project; the pandemic also inspired me to start a podcast and take part in a virtual art show called ‘Stranger Times,’ he said.
Timothy Cai, a grade 11 student from Fraser Heights Secondary in South Fraser, came up with Reusable, Biodegradable, Custom-Fit Masks. He said he decided to begin this project out of an interest in STEM and a desire to contribute to the community.
Javeria Ali’s project was also a take on the Single-Use Biodegradable Mask. Ali is a student at the Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning (SAIL) in the Fraser Valley. “This pandemic has contributed to over 100 billion polluted single-use face masks every single month. I am always concerned about our environment, and I want to do my part to reduce mask pollution,” she said.
The Youth Innovation Showcase is now in its third year and has grown every year, with 71 projects submitted. The showcase exists to help youth refine their innovative ideas and showcase their solutions to industry, academia and investors. Youth from all areas of BC and the Yukon are invited to take part in monthly virtual mentorship workshops, founder talks and site tours.
The showcase brings together experts from different innovative industries. Over the course of the year, youth can refine their ideas, products and pitches and submit them as a part of the 2021 Youth Innovation Showcase for a chance to win one of three $5,000 awards.
Finalists will go through another round of judge interviews with winners announced at an awards show June 10.