Sustainable Weather Balloon Wins Student a $10,000 Scholarship

Each individual day thousands of weather conditions balloons are launched all over the environment, using radiosondes to measure tension, relative humidity, and temperature. The balloons aren’t environmentally helpful, nevertheless, in portion for the reason that they are designed out of nonrecyclable resources this sort of as latex. Also, there is a whole lot of squander.

After a couple several hours in the air, a weather balloon bursts and its radiosonde falls to the floor by means of a parachute. Out of the 75,000 radiosondes introduced each and every calendar year in the United States, only 20 % are observed and returned, in accordance to the Nationwide Weather Service. The charge of changing them adds up.


Amon Schumann, a senior at the Robert-Havemann-Gymnasium school, in Berlin, has invented eco-pleasant, charge-productive alternatives.

A young man holding a device called a radiosonde
Amon Schumann’s radiosonde for weather conditions balloons is outfitted with a photo voltaic-driven battery and GPS.Lynn Bowlby

Schumann created a coin-dimensions, solar-powered radiosonde that weighs 4.8 grams—far far more compact than present-day designs, which weigh about 96 g. The temperature balloon he made can keep in the air for a longer time than common types as well.

His Compact Radiosondes on a Terrific Mission project was showcased in May well at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Honest held in Atlanta.

At a exclusive awards ceremony, Schumann was caught by shock when it was declared that his venture gained the IEEE Presidents’ Scholarship. The award was founded by the IEEE Basis to admit a deserving pupil for a job that demonstrates an being familiar with of electrical or electronics engineering, computer system science, or other IEEE area of fascination. The scholarship is administered on behalf of IEEE Educational Routines and is payable over 4 yrs of undergraduate university examine. Schumann also obtained a complimentary IEEE university student membership. Susan K. “Kathy” Land, the 2021 IEEE president, presented Schumann with this year’s scholarship.

“In comparison to launching 2,000 to 5,000 balloons that continue to be up for just two to 3 hours, my balloon can stay up in the air for 52 days.”

Schumann was determined to improve radiosondes and weather conditions balloons in the course of a pay a visit to to a neighborhood meteorology museum. There he acquired that radiosondes have not drastically improved in the earlier 100 decades.

Environmentally Welcoming

Mainly because of the improve in air strain at substantial altitudes, weather conditions balloons burst at all-around 35 kilometers. To address the difficulty, Schumann utilised layers of foil welded with each other, in addition a heated Teflon wheel, to generate a balloon that is in a position to withstand better altitudes.

“In comparison to launching 2,000 to 5,000 balloons that keep up for just two to three hours, my balloon can stay up in the air for 52 days, so less balloons have to be introduced,” he claims.

His radiosonde provides quite a few moments additional measurement details for every working day in contrast with regular types launched every two months. The radiosondes are equipped with a solar-powered battery, which is about 20 grams lighter than a lithium battery.

Schumann also created an extension module with a camera to history more data these types of as cloud formation.

“The digital camera can take aerial photos of the clouds,” he says, “which enables for a additional correct watch of their development and connections in comparison to a conventional radar procedure.”

He additional GPS to keep track of his radiosonde in real time. The radiosonde’s site is uploaded to his balloon flight tracker, which he hopes will be of use to those people needing weather knowledge.

The program he designed lets for the radio climate knowledge packets to be transmitted in actual time from his radiosonde to an assessment device in his property. The information is then sent to the Citizen Weather Observer Plan, a volunteer-dependent community. From there it’s forwarded to the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for attainable use in basic temperature forecasting.

Schumann claims he options to study electrical engineering at a complex college in Berlin.

Brain-Computer Interface

This year’s next-put recipient was Navya Ramakrishnan, a senior at Plano Senior Substantial University, in Texas. Her interface employs brain alerts to comprehensive household tasks this kind of as turning on a tv.

Ramakrishnan’s mind-computer interface was designed for folks with paralysis and neuromuscular conditions together with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She says her inspiration arrived from the device Steven Hawking constructed that utilized his eye movements to connect.

“That was definitely the setting up issue, when I thought about a way to have a universal conversation-support equipment for ALS individuals,” Ramakrishnan suggests. As an alternative of utilizing eye movements, she used mind waves measured by an EEG headset to gauge exercise.

A female student wearing a lanyard identifying her as a finalist at ISEF.
Next-position recipient Navya Ramakrishnan designed a mind-laptop interface to support people with paralysis and neuromuscular conditions do household jobs this sort of as turning on a tv. Lynn Bowlby

She found that a spike in the EEG information, a P300 sign, takes place in reaction to an party. Working with a computer system monitor, she produced a visible exhibit of generally employed home-automation command phrases. The BCI technique is related with the home’s circuit, which controls lights, appliances, and much more. The command is carried out through wireless transmission to the element of the circuit in handle of that job.

When consumers see their wanted command flash on the keep track of, they depend in their head right up until it stops—which triggers a reaction and creates a P300 sign. The BCI system pinpoints which command lit up at the time the sign occurred.

“Let’s say the person wishes to switch on a light. Each individual time that ‘Light on’ command flashes on the display I question them to depend in their head,” she clarifies. “The counting will create that ‘Oh, there’s the gentle on command,’ response, and it will generate that spike in the EEG information.

“Essentially what my method does,” she says, “is question, ‘Where did these P300 signals occur?’ Due to the fact where by they occur suggests the user just reacted to the command that flashed on the monitor.”

Ramakrishnan explained she will be attending Harvard this yr to go after a diploma in laptop science with a focus in thoughts, brain, and actions.

Detecting Leukemia

Adelle Jia Xin Yong, a junior at Westlake Higher Faculty in Austin, Texas, was awarded third position for her Smart Leukemia Labs job. Her moveable microscope and diagnostic device correctly and immediately detects acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

A female student holding a black portable microscope and diagnostic tool.
Adelle Jia Xin Yong was awarded third area for her transportable microscope and diagnostic tool that precisely and speedily detects acute lymphoblastic leukemia from a drop of blood.Lynn Bowlby

The invention is suitable with smartphones. An attachment magnifies a drop of blood on a .5-millimeter glass slide up to 1,000 moments. An app that takes advantage of object detection, image recognition, and semantic segmentation identifies irregular blood cells to diagnose leukemia.

Yong suggests her creation combines her enthusiasm for aiding the local community and improving upon access to well being care.

“In seventh quality I had a buddy who unfortunately experienced leukemia,” she states. “As I saw her go by the treatment options, I wondered how people today who didn’t have obtain to the technology she had ended up capable to receive solutions or even a analysis.”

Yong’s diagnostic tool is specific at all those dwelling in underserved regions. It prices about US $28 to make and takes advantage of small-cost products, most of which can be located all-around the residence, these types of as a metal pin and a little plastic tube.

When Yong listened to her identify named at the reasonable, she was stunned, she suggests.

“ISEF is a actually huge thing,” she suggests. “I was pleased with my invention, but I didn’t know I would gain anything. I am just totally thrilled.”

Yong’s father released her to engineering. In 2020 she taught herself how to code by seeing YouTube videos.

She started GStar, a club at her significant faculty that is focused on empowering women in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

She says she hopes to show up at professional medical faculty and grow to be a medical professional. Her goal is to convert her patented prototype into a feasible merchandise with the assistance of suppliers and labs.