The hot tech of the cool White House Science Fair

Robots, unique apps, virtualization all part of annual White House Science Fair

white house science
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

“I love this event.” That was basically the only statement from President Barack Obama you need to know about as the Chief Executive opened the White House Science Fair this week which featured over 100 students from more than 30 states, representing more than 40 different science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions. This year’s Fair featured inventions from girls and women who are excelling in STEM applications.  Obama also revealed a new $35 million competition to train STEM teachers, an expansion of a program to provide low-income students STEM learning opportunities.

White House Science Fair
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Obama bends down to listen to a team of Girl Scouts USA from Tulsa, Okla., explaining their flood proof bridge design as he hosts the 2014 White House Science Fair.

White House Science Fair
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Obama listens to Maria Haynes, of Santa Cruz, Calif., talk about her concussion cushion football helmet. Maria developed her "Concussion Cushion" science project, testing out several inner and outer cushioning materials for her players' helmets -- including gel and memory foam inserts and impact -- absorbing outer coverings.

White House Science Fair
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

Obama listens to Nicolas Badila, of Jonesboro, Ga., Badila, 15, a home-schooled student from Georgia, created his own STEM-themed virtual world, STEMville, where students can pick a character, play challenging games, and improve their STEM skills.

White House Science Fair
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Obama looks at an information board made by Eric Chen of San Diego about his project on influenza treatments. As part of a microbiology project, Eric identified new drug candidates for the treatment of influenza -- research that may lead to a new class of anti-flu medicines that could protect against a flu pandemic while new vaccines are being developed.

White House Science Fair
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

Obama looks at a sandless sandbag next to its inventor Peyton Robertson, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. His design is also lightweight, easy to store, and more effective at keeping water out than existing designs, he says.

White House Science Fair

After reading a story in National Geographic about the global shortage of metals and elements used in magnets -- called "rare earths" -- and how important magnets are to objects like motors and wind turbines, Kavita Selva, 14, set out to design a strong magnet that contains little or no rare materials. She used superconductor tape, a strip of metal tape coated with superconductor material to develop a strong magnet containing just a small amount of rare-earths.

White House Science Fair
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Obama poses with Olivia Van Amsterdam and Katelyn Sweeney, both from Natick, Mass., along with their rescue robot. Van Amsterdam, 16, Sweeney, 17, and their team of student engineers invented a 120-pound remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that can help ice search and rescue dive teams search for bodies in dangerous waters. Their submersible device works in waters up to 40 feet deep with temperatures of 33 to 45°F.

White House Science Fair
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

Obama poses with John Moore (L) and Lidia Wolf (R) of Chicago after they explained their FIRST robot project.

White House Science Fair
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Obama prepares to catch a basketball thrown by team member Brooke Bohn and her project. The "Catapult Court CEOs" -- a team of 11- to 14-year-old students -- engineered and built a custom-made catapult to determine whether they could improve basketball-shot performance. By shooting over and again from an individual's optimal distance and angle from the hoop, the CEOs set out to prove that maximizing accuracy and precision when shooting baskets provides the highest level of performance on the basketball court.

White House Science Fair

"Team Rocket Power" was one of 100 teams that qualified for last year's Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC). It was also one of just nine all-girl teams that qualified for the student rocketry competition and the only African American all-girl team.

White House Science Fair

Juan Ramos moved to the United States from El Salvador two years ago, barely speaking a word of English. He quickly caught up and, with classmate Amena Jamali, launched JJ New World, a company that creates software programs specializing in online games. The students' premier game, "Better than History," helps players think critically and view the world through a more informed lens as they navigate alternative endings to true historical events.

White House Science Fair
Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Obama listens to Deidre Carillo of San Antonio explain her electric car  project. As driver of the team's Dragon 1 vehicle, she helped lead her team to second place finishes in the Electrathon for two years in a row, before grabbing a first place finish in the 2014 competition this year.

White House Science Fair

“Hello Navi” integrates a variety of digital tools such as a compass, scanner, VoiceOver, optical braille readers and Google indoor navigation technology to guide blind or visually-challenged students around their school. The all-girl team of app-builders from Resaca Middle School in Texas -- designed an innovative solution to help one of their visually impaired classmates. The service makes use of common digital tools such as a compass and optical Braille readers and can be tailored for use in any building.

White House Science Fair
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Obama’s welcome to the Science Fair speech.