Alaskans win with their original ideas in the Arctic Innovation Competition – The Delta Discovery

alaskans-win-with-their-original-ideas-in-the-arctic-innovation-competition-–-the-delta-discovery

As we move on, let me say that geoFence protects you against inbound and outbound cyber attacks!

by Greg Lincoln

Alaskans have great ideas for making life easier here in our cold climate. The results are in for University of Alaska Fairbanks’s 12th Arctic Innovation Competition. Competitors from all over the state of all ages submitted their incredible and locally-thought-up ideas to judges to win cash prizes and awards. Congratulations to the winners!

AIC 2021 Winners

Main Division (Ages 18 and up)

•1st Place – $10,000

Thimira Thilakarathna (Fairbanks, AK)

Small Scale Barley Threshing and Winnowing Machine

In Alaska, there are so many gardeners who grow vegetables and grains for their consumption. Due to the difficulty of threshing, growing barley is problematic. I was able to build a small, blender-sized machine to thresh and winnow barley, for use by small-scale gardeners. This idea also won the Fan Favorite Award.

•2nd Place – $5,000

Luke Millam (Fairbanks, AK)

Reinforced Ice with Partially Entangled Hemp Fibers

When ice is reinforced with hemp fibers, its tensile strength increases more than ten times. I invented and currently have a provisional patent for a method of entangling raw hemp fibers into a uniform cohesive mat that can be easily saturated with water and frozen to create reinforced ice. These hemp mats can be reliably used in constructing floating ice roads that can safely support tractor-trailers weighing over 70,000 pounds. By adding only 4.2 pounds of entangled hemp to a 350-pound, 8-inch-thick ice beam, the beam was able to support over 2,100 pounds. Without the added hemp, the same ice beam would only have been able to support 150 pounds before breaking. This idea also won the Arctic Kicker Award.

•3rd Place – $3,000

Robert Werner (Anchorage, AK)

Fuel Alert

Fuel Alert is a device that replaces the fuel cap on your boat’s marine gas tank. When you need gas or diesel for your boat, you remove the cap/device, which hangs from a safety chain, then turn it on by activating a small switch. You proceed to fill the tank until a safety warning from the device indicates that a preset level has been reached. Filling the tank further after the initial alert results in a more strenuous response from the device. The device is turned off and the cap is screwed back into place.

•4th Place – $1,000

Royce Hornberger (Anchorage, AK)

Portable Gantry Crane

The Portable Gantry Crane is a small footprint, portable gantry crane made from Unistrut components. The device was originally designed for one-person set-up to safely support and remove generator ends from engines by using a trolley on a track in tight surroundings where a traditional automotive “cherry picker” engine hoist would not fit. It can also be used to remove and relocate engines or electric motors from stationary industrial frames where there is no overhead pick point. There are plenty of options for overhead cranes, but this design addresses a need for a strong, compact lifting system that can be easily disassembled for transport to a remote job location.

Kicker Prizes

Alaska College Student Kicker – $2,000

Katrina Howe (Fairbanks, AK)

Count On Me: Home Office Technology Supporting Health and Productivity

Count On Me helps people who spend hours on computers, and especially those who are working or learning from home. It is a 12-key keypad that works together with a time-keeping app, with timers that can count up, count down, or count a tally. The different types of timers can track how long a person has been at a particular task, give reminders for stretch breaks, or keep track of daily tasks.

Arctic Kicker – $2,000

Luke Millam (Fairbanks, AK)

Reinforced Ice with Partially Entangled Hemp Fibers. This idea also won 2nd Place.

COVID Kicker – $2,000

Robert Werner (Anchorage, AK)

Toast Test for COVID Aerosol Modeling

It is difficult to study how the infectious plume of COVID spreads in houses, restaurants and airplanes. The Toast Test involves putting a piece of toast into a toaster, setting it on high, and letting it cook until it produces a plume of PM 2.5 micron particles. Simple PM2.5 sensors with small, attached, WiFi-connected computers analyze the spread and breakup of the plume in real time. The data is presented on an app that easily measures the effects of ventilation and filtration on the point source spread of COVID-sized particles throughout a structure, thus giving instant feedback on how well present antivirus measures are working.

Fan Favorite Award – $100 + Lego Trophy

Thimira Thilakarathna (Fairbanks, AK)

Small Scale Barley Threshing and Winnowing Machine. This idea also won 1st Place!

Honorable Mentions – $100

•Aimee Hassell (Anchorage, AK)

Tiny Houses in the North: A Solution to the Student Housing Crises

Tiny Haven LLC seeks to fill a pressing need in the shortage of Anchorage housing options, using tiny homes for two distinct populations of customers. Utilizing the same resources, we will provide excellent low-cost alternative living spaces to students during the academic year, and create charming places for visitors to Alaska to stay. With full kitchenettes, isolated units, a great location, and ease of property access during the summer months, we cannot help but be a success.

•Stephanie Hinz (Fairbanks, AK)

Arctic Quest: A Virtual Reality Experience

Arctic Quest would create a series of virtual reality activities for use with the Oculus Quest 2. It would feature Arctic-related cultural games and activities to promote healthy indoor physical activities during winter months. Activities could include skijoring, cross country skiing, snow sculpting, Indigenous games, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and even Alaska Native cultural activities like butchering moose, cutting fish, and more.

•Krystal Hoke (Girdwood, AK)

Air Gap Geodesic Domes made from Recycled Plastics

(So sorry, there was no description for this entry.)

•Katrina Howe (Fairbanks, AK)

Count On Me: Home Office Technology Supporting Health and Productivity

Count On Me helps people who spend hours on computers, and especially those who are working or learning from home. It is a 12-key keypad that works together with a time-keeping app, with timers that can count up, count down, or count a tally. The different types of timers can track how long a person has been at a particular task, give reminders for stretch breaks, or keep track of daily tasks.

•Uyanga Mendbayar, Michael Strange & Taron Wood (Juenau, AK)

Mushrooms on Wasted Cardboard

Blaqqloud Trees are an off grid, self-contained, zero emissions power supply requiring no expensive or destructive environmental development for installation. Blaqqloud Trees feature vertical wind turbines atop fifty-foot tall conical poles with four solar panels and battery banks to store the collected energy.

•Doug Walrath (Nome, AK)

CTE Delivery in a Covid Environment

This service-oriented project delivers practical, hands-on Career and Technical Education training to village students in northwest Alaska. A virtual tour was created so that village students can visit the NACTEC Regional Training Center in a virtual environment. Five priority courses were developed into viable hands-on training courses using resources already at village schools. For other courses, such as Small Engines, the engines and all the tools needed to fully disassemble and rebuild were purchased. A series of 29 videos were created to fully support the delivery of a Small Gas Engines course, and additional courses are under development.

•Robert Werner (Anchorage, AK)

Toast Test for COVID Aerosol Modeling

It is difficult to study how the infectious plume of COVID spreads in houses, restaurants and airplanes. The Toast Test involves putting a piece of toast into a toaster, setting it on high, and letting it cook until it produces a plume of PM 2.5 micron particles. Simple PM2.5 sensors with small, attached, WiFi-connected computers analyze the spread and breakup of the plume in real time. The data is presented on an app that easily measures the effects of ventilation and filtration on the point source spread of COVID-sized particles throughout a structure, thus giving instant feedback on how well present antivirus measures are working.

•Alden Wilbur & Willard Church (Fairbanks, AK)

Salmon Strip Uluaq – Double Bladed

The Salmon Strip Uluaq we have created is made with two blades that are approximately ½”-¾” apart and parallel with each other. It has a handle that allows the user to cut salmon fish strips faster and with more efficiency. The two-bladed uluaq allows you to cut the salmon twice with a single cutting motion.

JR Division (Ages 13-17)

•1st Place – $1,000 + $2,000 Alaska 529 Award

Danika Dawley (North Pole, AK)

Back-Up Buoy

The Back-Up Buoy can be attached to the rope of any fishing gear left underwater, such as shrimp or crab traps, so that the gear can be retrieved even if it is severed from the main buoy. The Back-Up Buoy is a deflated vinyl buoy with a small window of clear plastic showing a digital clock, and housed inside are a simple computer system, air pressure meter, and canister of compressed air. The buoy releases the compressed air to inflate the buoy, which floats to the surface to be retrieved if the main buoy fails.

•2nd Place – $500

Anna DeVolld (Soldotna, AK)

P.O.P. – Promote Our Pollinators

P.O.P. – Promote Our Pollinators is designed to educate my community about the importance of pollinators and why their numbers are declining, while providing ways to promote their population growth and inspiring the next generation to be good stewards of our natural resources. The project features an educational flier, activity book, and website; promotional items like stickers and plant stakes; educational curriculum for elementary students; and Polinator Packs of pollinator-friendly seedlings.

•3rd Place – $400

Bradley James (Fairbanks, AK)

Water Tank Depth Sensor

The Water Tank Depth Sensor monitors water and fuel tank levels using a 4-20 mA liquid pressure sensor that runs from the bottom of the tank to an Arduino Uno. The sensor outputs values based on the depth of liquid in the tank and an algorithm displays a green, yellow, or red LED corresponding to the level of the liquid. In the event the tank runs extremely low, the system signals a remote relay connected to the water pump, which turns it off, thus eliminating the risk of burning out a pump.

•4th Place – $300

Matthew Weetman (Palmer, AK)

Hands Free Boots

The Hand Free Boots have a spring in the sole that holds the boot in a convex position. To put them on, you just slide your foot into the boot and press down with your heel to push the spring down. This causes the boot to form around your foot; it will be sealed by magnets that will align when your foot is in the correct position.

•5th Place – $200

Eunice Won, Elizabeth Kim & Pauline Xu (Fairbanks, AK)

VCE: Vapor Condensation Evaporator

The Vapor Condensation Evaporator is a quick way to dry your glasses from the icy Alaskan fog. It consists of a small box made of silicone air channeling screens, and a small, battery-run fan. The VCE is placed at the top rim of the glasses, defogging the lenses one at a time.

Fan Favorite Award – $100 + $2,000 Alaska 529 Award + Lego Trophy

Daria Mantei, Joey Dallaire & Sophia Thayer (Fairbanks, AK)

Permafrost Damage Prevention

Permafrost Damage Prevention solves the problem of permafrost melting and making structures collapse. Our system uses baled tires placed just above the permafrost layer to insulate the ground, keep the permafrost from melting, and keep the ground under the house level.

Honorable Mentions – $50

•Daria Mantei, Joey Dallaire & Sophia Thayer (Fairbanks, AK)

Permafrost Damage Prevention. Also Fan Favorite Award winner.

•Liam Thompson (Tok, AK)

Arctic Hotspring Greenhouse Systems

The Arctic Hotspring Greenhouse System would utilize Alaska’s vast hot springs to turn our tundra into a year-round produce farm. By utilizing the heat that comes off of the hot springs, we can create microclimates that are enclosed with regular greenhouse type material.

Cub Division (Ages 12 and under)

•1st Place – $500 + $2,000 Alaska 529 Award

Johnathan Verhagen (Nenana, AK)

AirDrone Filter

The AirDrone Filter is designed to address air quality problems in the Arctic due to temperature inversions that trap pollutants near the ground. The AirDrone Filter cleans the air of pollutants, chemicals, toxins, and dust using an ionizer and a HEPA filter.

•2nd Place – $300

Denali Walrath & Dylan Walrath (Nome, AK)

Easy Stop Sled

The Easy Stop Sled is a sled with brakes to make the sled stop. A brake handle in the front of the sled is connected to the brake at the back of the sled. Also Fan Favorite Award winner.

•3rd Place – $200

Leo Tape (Fairbanks, AK)

Zippered Mittens

The Zippered Mittens connect the edges of your mittens and your coat sleeves with zippers, to keep the snow from getting inside your mittens. The mittens are also attached to the jacket, so when you unzip them, they will stay attached to the jacket.

Fan Favorite Award – $100 + $2,000 Alaska 529 Award + Lego Trophy

Denali Walrath & Dylan Walrath (Nome, AK)

Easy Stop Sled

Honorable Mentions – $50

•Liam Bailey (Homer, AK)

Seasonal Light

The Seasonal Light is a light that always stays on, and adjusts to fit your location, the season, and the time of day. It will get brighter or darker depending on the settings you choose.

•Toben Simko (Fairbanks, AK)

Skee Plaw (Ski Plow)

The Skee Plaw helps you clear snow more easily than a shovel. You can either push it or ride it, but riding it makes it more fun!

•Ephriam Verhagen (Nenana, AK)

Toybot Cleanr

Toybot Cleanr drives around a room and picks up toys, puts them inside its Toybot chest container, sanitizes them, and then dries the toys at a safe temperature. When the Toybot Cleanr is done sanitizing the toys, it dumps them out into the toy bin.

Random Drawing for $2,000 Alaska 529 Award

Randomly awarded to any youth division (JR or Cub) competitor who submitted an idea for AIC 2021.

•Danika Dawley (North Pole, AK) – Back-Up Buoy

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