It's only natural to look to the future with hope for a better tomorrow. Happily, the seeds of that tomorrow can be seen in the minds of 2013's most brilliant kids. Here are three wunderkinds who promise to be on the cutting edge of innovation for a long time.
Teenagers are notorious for constantly being on their cell phones, so it should come as no surprise that 18-year-old Eesha Khare was often frustrated by how quickly her cell-phone battery died. What is surprising is that she actually did something about it. Eesha developed a super-capacitor that won her the $50,000 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award at the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, beating out more than 1,600 finalists from more than 70 countries.
What made the Saratoga, Calif., resident's invention so amazing? With further development, Eesha's super-capacitor might not only charge a cell phone in just 20 to 30 seconds, but also last ten times as long once charged. The possible applications for Eesha's invention go beyond cell phones, too. Laptop computers and even electric cars could benefit from this amazing advancement in energy storage.
Accepted to attend Harvard University in the fall, Eesha envisions a future where she continues to make scientific advancements, which is good news for all of us.
While the average kid his age wants nothing more than to be recognized as a licensed driver, 16-year-old Jack Andraka has already been recognized as an inventor, scientist, and cancer researcher. The basis for Jack's greatest accomplishment to date -- the development of a quick, inexpensive way to detect pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer -- occurred to him while sitting in his freshman biology class. Inspired by the loss of an uncle to pancreatic cancer, Jack contacted 200 college professors with the hope of receiving laboratory help. Every one of them rejected his proposal, except for Dr. Anirban Maitra of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who calls Jack "the Edison for our times." While working in Dr. Maitra's lab, Jack completed work on this amazing test, which has the potential to save millions of lives worldwide.
Today Jack speaks across the country, has met Presidents Clinton and Obama, and is talking to companies about making an over-the-counter version of his cancer test available. He's also still busy in the lab, this time working to develop a way to detect diseases without a blood sample.
Say something is homemade and most people imagine cookies, crafts, or clothes. What they don't imagine -- what, in fact, seems almost inconceivable -- is a homemade one-man submarine. But that's exactly what 18-year-old inventor Justin Beckerman made at his New Jersey home earlier this year. Justin, who first started building things at age 2, has won numerous awards for his many ingenious inventions (including a remote-control cleaning vehicle he made when he was 12), but it's his submarine that's garnered him the most attention. Fully functional, Justin's one-man submarine can go as far as 30 feet underwater.
Incredibly, Justin largely pieced together the 9-foot-long submarine in his parent's basement using recycled electronics and cast-off parts. In total, Justin spent just $2,000 making the submarine, or about one-fiftieth of what it would cost to buy one.
Justin's incredible achievement demonstrates not just an uncanny mastery of engineering for someone his age, but also the vision to conceive of -- and realize -- something that's never existed before. It will be exciting to see what Justin comes up with once his ambitions are freed from the limitations of his parents' basement.
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The Chevrolet Volt has been recognized for its vision as well, with a number-one spot on the Sierra Club's list of plug-in hybrids and "Leader in Strategic Vision's 2013 Total Quality Award for Best Mid-Size Car."
Read more from Chevy Culture here.