Review of US Science and Engineering Fair 2016
NEA team had been waiting eagerly for this STEM extravaganza that happens every two years. We visited more than a hundred exhibits to bring you the latest trends in STEM world. Here is a rundown of our observations:
- We saw complex science experiments becoming portable such that they could be conducted outside of expensive labs. Some of the notable ones were:
- Gravitational Waves by National Science Foundation
- Science on a Sphere by NOAA
- Quantum Mechanics and Light Wave Particle Duality by LIGO Scientific Collaboration and partners
- Awesome math puzzles and problems called ‘Pushing the Envelope’ by American Math Association
- In STEM Expo 2014, Raspberry Pi was new and upcoming, visible only at a few booths. This year, it was exciting to not only see a large exhibit, but also, Raspberry Pi extensions that will enhance teaching of both Software and Hardware.
- Another transformation was the widespread use of 3D Printers such that it appeared to be a commodity at the expo, although, we would argue that it is far from it. There is so much more to this creative evolution.
- Robotics was one area where we were relatively disappointed. While there were several booths, most of them featured the same old Lego Robotics or their close cousins. The whole category seemed devoid of any innovation or creativity. We did find a few gems that we would recommend following:
- Learning with Robots by NYU Tandon School of Engineering
- Underwater Robot by NAVSEA STEM (We are already implementing this one in our Middle School STEM program)
- 3D printed robot using BIOLOID motors by NIST (We were very impressed and will be bringing this to NEA shortly for students to 3D print and build)
- Bio inspired robots from European companies such as robotic plants that seep into the ground just like roots of a plant