kids invent the darndest things (for social good).

Rome wasn’t built in a day. But these talented youth take on real-world issues in the recent Invention Sprint Workshop for Youths. And all in the span of 3 weeks.

There are some who’d say that kids these days are getting smarter, thinking faster and growing quicker than any other generation before. And though the reasons why may be debatable, I for one wholeheartedly agree too.

it all STEMs from something.

Image credit: IDE Academy Singapore

Take for instance the group of 18 students (aged 11-18) who participated in the recent Invention Sprint Workshop for Youths, focused on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) design thinking for social good. Organised by Temasek Shophouse in partnership with IDE Academy, the workshop took place over the course of 6 sessions, spanning 3 weeks from November to December last year.

The goal?

Create sustainable non-working invention prototypes that would solve real-world problems, in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG).

Now, I don’t know about you but 12-year-old me wouldn’t even have known what STEM was. (And before you even think of starting with smart-alecky comebacks like, ‘Yah, but Brin when you were 12, STEM wasn’t even a thing’, imma stop you right there.)

Image credit: IDE Academy Singapore

So honestly, it’s pretty remarkable that these youths managed to come up with innovative prototypes to tackle some pressing real-world issues, 14 of which are currently on display at Temasek Shophouse.

the projects.

Emma and Sarah with their Actually.a.Bin (A.A.B) prototype. | Image credit: IDE Academy Singapore

Some of our favourites include Actually A Bin (A.A.B), created by 13-year-old Emma Yan and Sarah Chua, 12. Clever name aside, this nifty invention helps wash contaminated recyclables so that items stand a chance to be recycled. Afterall, tons of recyclables are disposed as trash, because people don’t take the time to wash or dry them before popping them in recycle bins.

Elisha and Luqman with their Eco-washer prototype. | Image credit: IDE Academy Singapore

Similarly, Luqman Hakim Kamaludeen and Elisha Lee, both 13, invented the Eco-washer. The clever device enables rural communities to reuse water from washing dishes. Functioning pretty much like a regular dishwasher, the dirty water is then filtered and made drinkable. When prompted for their thoughts behind the Design & Build process, both chimed in at how “fun it was to go hands-on to construct something from a drawing”.

Of course, there were more projects we enjoyed too, all of which can be viewed here.

should you stay or should you go?

So if you’re curious, or want to inspire your little ones, there’s also a Youth Recap session on 8 January. The Show and Tell event will see participants, parents and educators share more about their experience.

Image credit: IDE Academy Singapore

And while some solutions may seem straightforward, there is value in acknowledging beauty in simplicity. After all, some of the world’s best inventions started out as simple solutions themselves. Let’s not forget that the Frisbee was invented because Walter Morrison watched his bored girlfriend toss around a popcorn can lid.

Plus, it’s also really heartening to know that youth are taking an interest in important issues that affect us all.

Cardboard prototype now, breakthrough invention later.

Catch the Youth Recap session on 8 January (Saturday) from 2-4pm at Temasek Shophouse. Prototypes of their inventions will remain on display at the same venue from now till 28 January this year. Click here for more information!

Curious to see what else the youth of today have been up to? Check out how these students created an energy-efficient world on Minecraft, and find out how this dad inspires his kids to keep food wastage at bay.

brintha loganathan

Apart from being futr Singapore's editor, Brin also churns out copy for Strada Visual Lab. Hobbies include mothering, "reality TV" and good beer. Mmm.

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