Student Project Examples by National Critical Technology Category 


The following is a list of student project descriptions within the seven National Critical Technology (NCT) categories.  Each category includes examples of elementary, middle and high school student projects by sub-technology areas.  This serves as an example of the kinds of problems students were interested in addressing for their project focus.  Teachers and educational program coordinators may determine only certain categories are appropriate given the nature of their curricula or program plan.  ISTF Partners who sponsor student teams may wish to have students focus their projects on problems and/or issues relating to the sponsoring organization's mission or technical expertise.  Or, as is the case with most projects, the students are given the opportunity to decide what they are interested in researching.  This process in the end helps to ensure a team's four month commitment to the ISTF program.   Click on any of the blue NCT categories below to view brief descriptions of student projects.


    Energy                 Environmental Quality              Information and Communication             Living Systems       

             Manufacturing                                    Materials                                                   Transportation


 

NCT ENERGY Category

Elementary School Team:

    Sub-category: Renewable Energy

        Problem: 85% of the world's power comes from fossil fuels and we are running out of them.

        Project Description: Present evidence to convince people to use less fossil fuels for their energy, and consider using alternative energy sources

Middle School Teams:

    Sub-category: Fuel Cells

        Problem: The use of an alternate energy source would decrease the amount of gasoline used, helping to conserve our natural resources.

        Project Description: Water is an abundant natural resource. A car designed to use the hydrogen from water as an energy source rather than gasoline would conserve our natural resources. 

    Sub-category: Building Technologies

        Problem: Try and alleviate energy consumption and prevent the problem of energy shortage through home automation. 

        Project Description: To prevent further shortages of electricity, solar cells and special batteries could be mass-produced to make energy more available and inexpensive.

High School Teams:

    Sub-category: Capacitors

        Problem: Is it realistic to use a bank of capacitors as an energy source to launch small satellites using laser beams?

        Project Description: Factors and potential problems that must be considered include escape velocity, friction from drag and the laser beam, efficiency of capacitor banks and lasers, density of atmosphere at various heights, and mass of various communication satellites. 

    Sub-category: Renewable Energy

        Problem: Create renewable energy sources with a technical application of energy efficient building technologies, focusing on building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).

        Project Description: A PV-integrated awning that collects energy while allowing windows to maintain transparency, and serve as a source of natural, ambient light.


NCT ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Category         (Return to Top)

Elementary School Team:

Sub-category: Remediation and Restoration

        Problem: When it rains, the river overflows, flooding the area around the stream, causing erosion which lowers the quality of the water. 

        Project Description: Stabilizing the banks would help keep the soil in place. This would improve the quality of the water.

Middle School Teams:

Sub-category: Pollution Control

        Problem: The burning of fossil fuels releases harmful chemicals like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide into the air

        Project Description: Removing many harmful chemicals through physical separation technologies. 

Sub-category: Remote Assessment of Bio-systems

        Problem: The current information gathering systems technologies does not allow the effective, simultaneous combination of satellite and field data, making land use mapping time-consuming and inaccurate.

        Project Description: A probe that scans and identifies a specific area to transmit the field data swiftly and easily to the satellite as it passes overhead.

High School Teams:

Sub-category: Pollution Control

        Problem: Toxin producing vehicles cause acid rain. These chemicals contaminate our water and are absorbed by the soil.

        Project Description: If electric cars become widely used, then toxic emissions will be dramatically reduced from the air. Therefore causing acid rain to depleted to a certain extent.

Sub-category: Environmental Monitoring

        Problem: Develop a system that can detect toxic chemicals in public facilities. 

        Project Description: The students will research what toxin detectors are currently available, how they work, whether they can be modified, and how they can be implemented wide scale.


NCT INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION Category      (Return to Top)

Middle School Teams:

Sub-category: Pattern Recognition

        Problem: The inefficiency of location tracking in busy environments.

        Project Description: A revolutionary system that tracks people's location using voice print recognition technology. It compares a person's voice to a pre-recorded digital template

Sub-category: Health Systems and Services

        Problem: In case of an emergency, life saving information is not quickly accessible. At best, a phone number would have to be dialed and an operator would then provide patient information. This can take time, and in some cases there is no time to spare.

        Project Description: doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel will be able to identify who the patient is, their blood type, social security number, and other critical patient information stored on a microchip located in the body of the patient.

High School Teams:

Sub-category: Artificial Intelligence

        Problem: Children are exposed to many immoral and indecent websites every time they log-on to the Internet. To prevent this, Internet filters have been created.

        Project Description: A filter capable of differentiating language with new computer-based reasoning methods will be employed. This filter will be programmed to recognize grammar and to update its database of language according to current common usage.

Sub-category: Education Training Software

        Problem: We propose to research the development and definition of enterprise information portals (EIP) and their place in the future of web-business.

        Project Description: This website will describe EIP technology. It will give a past, present, and future scope of the technology's growth since its inception into the business world. It will give predictions as to where the technology is headed and where we can expect to see changes in the way we view the Internet


NCT LIVING SYSTEMS Category      (Return to Top)

Elementary School Team:

Sub-category: Food Safety Assurance

        Problem: Researching the process of irradiating food, analyzing its positive and negative components.

        Project Description: The research will reveal the positive and negative effects of irradiation on food relating to cost, taste time factors, and nutritional value.

Middle School Teams:

Sub-category: Bio-processing

        Problem: Cancer is a problem that affects many people throughout the United States, yet there is no cure. 

        Project Description: Research most effective cancer treatment and improve on others. 

Sub-category: Vaccines

        Problem: The length of the remission period for patients with Acute Lymphosytic Leukemia.

        Project Description: Research and improve bone marrow transplantation. Overpower affected cells with healthy cells

High School Teams:

Sub-category: Medical Devices and Equipments

        Problem: Research how the Human Patient Simulator can be used to improve surgical doctors' accuracy, therefore reducing the number of malpractice deaths.

        Project Description: The Human Patient Simulator can give surgical doctors the opportunity to rehearse procedures. The Simulator is a life-size computer controlled manikin. The manikin breathes, has a heartbeat, and can mimic human responses and disorders. It can also be injected with drugs and responds using a barcode reader. 

Sub-category: Medical Devices and Equipments

        Problem: Could robots assist in surgery?

        Project Description: Research opportunities to implement the use of robotics in medicine. 


NCT MANUFACTURING Category      (Return to Top)

Middle School Team:

Sub-category: Robotics

        Problem: Help save victims of major catastrophes more efficiently without jeopardizing the lives of the rescue workers.

        Project Description: Construct a robot to assist in rescue operations. 

High School Teams:

Sub-category: Pollution Avoidance

        Problem: reduce the pollution caused by the incomplete combustion in two-stroke engines

        Project Description: design a product to control or reduce the exhaust emissions from these engines, principally in their use in recreational watercraft

Sub-category: Robotics

        Problem: Can a computer interface be designed which would recognize a homebound's need for assistance, and signal for emergency help when the individual is in distress? 

        Project Description: A home care system for senior citizens, The Helping Home. It allows a large degree of autonomy on the part of the elderly or home-bound person, while allowing the person to be monitored 24/7 from in the house or at a remote location.


NCT MATERIALS Category          (Return to Top)

Middle School Teams:

Sub-category: Superconductors

        Problem: The big transportation problem that is becoming a concern as we only rely on oil for source of energy.

        Project Description: The idea is to enhance the concepts of magnetic levitation trains, by replacing them with cars, and use solar panels for energy.   

Sub-category: Stealth Materials

        Problem: America spends billions of dollars in stealth planes that are shot down.

        Project Description: A material that realigns electron configurations in order to deflect radar signals in multidirectional spectrums, therefore eliminating the possibility of being detected by enemy radar systems.

High School Teams:

Sub-category: Ceramic Metals

        Problem: What materials can be used to decrease the cost of mass-producing a laser transceiver?

        Project Description: Making cheaper laser transceivers will allow mass production and use by the general public. A new ceramic composite has high conductivity and toughness with lower production and environmental cost.

Sub-category: Stealth Materials 

        Problem: Stealth is not effective on military aircraft's under certain circumstances.

        Project Description: Make improvements on military stealth technology imperfections.


NCT TRANSPORTATION Category      (Return to Top)

Middle School Teams:

Sub-category: Aircraft/Spacecraft Avionics

        Problem: To find a way to make vehicles more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient.

        Project Description: We will be studying Laminar flow control and other ways to make planes and vehicles more aerodynamic. This technology will help us solve the problem of excessive drag. Less drag will save fuel. 

Sub-category: Service Vehicles Aerodynamics

        Problem: High speed trains lack convenience, have a very limited maximum seating capacity, and are not safe enough, or economically efficient

        Project Description: Design a more efficient train body shape, train rails, brakes, and will increase the seating capacity.

High School Teams:

Sub-category: Intelligent Transportation Systems

        Problem: Design a monorail system that is safe, fast, and inexpensive, because monorails are an efficient form on transportation. 

        Project Description: Our new design of the "safer" monorail will include additional emergency exits which are not dependent upon electricity, so that they will still open in an emergency and at the same time not pop open when the vehicle is in motion. 

Sub-category: Aircraft Turbines

        Problem: Improve the efficiency of gas turbines, this including improving the capabilities of thrust and combustion, and also advanced engine components to expound on technological capabilities of the gas turbine.

        Project Description: The goal is to improve combustion area flow by using high efficiency fuels and creating a vortex in the actual combustion chamber.