It’s always great to be recognized for great achievements. As some of you may already know, last month, temitook home the Gold Edison Award for Robotics. The Edison Awards aims to “be a leader in globally recognizing, honoring, and fostering innovation and innovators to create a positive impact in the world.” These are values that we absolutely align with as company. We would like to extend our extreme gratitude towards the Edison Awards and towards others who were nominated as we truly believe that we are all working towards the same mission: inspiring positive growth in the world through technological innovation. We wanted to take this opportunity to showcase a couple innovations that have been inspiring us lately to stay curious. Both of the following inventions were spearheaded by teenagers who saw an opportunity for innovative growth, and took the steps necessary to achieve them.
The Ocean Cleanup Project
Innovation for a Global Issue
When he was only a teenager, the young Dutch inventor Boyan Slathad a vision for a solution for a global issue: ocean pollution. He first recognized the issue while on a scuba diving excursion in Greece where instead of getting a chance to appreciate the incredible ocean life, he found what “was basically a garbage dump, with more plastic bags than fish.” Slat wanted to help this ever-growing issue by building a mechanism to trap and remove the plastic in what is calledThe Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Within the North Pacific Gyre, ocean currents coalesce to trap plastic, chemical sludge, and other debris primarily originating from countries in Asia. This collection of debris has come to be known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which researchers from Slat’s organization, The Ocean Cleanupproject, claim covers over 1.6 millionsquare kilometers. After raising a considerable amount of capital ($31.5 Million), a passive system of drifting screens was developed to trap the plastic. The screens were engineered to behave similarly to the plastic in that the waves, winds, and currents that move the plastic will also impact the movement of the roaming systems. Therefore, they will naturally gravitate towards the areas in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch with the highest concentration of plastic. Unfortunately, the roaming system broke down from the intense strains of the winds and ocean just before January 1st, 2019. While this must on the surface be difficult and slightly discouraging, Slat states that there has been no talk about discouragement. With new problems, there must be new solutions. When navigating these new challenges, especially in an objectively tumultuous environment (the ocean), setbacks are to be expected and are all part of the retrospective process of growth. Boyan Slat sees no end in sight and will continue to innovate and inspire those around him to do the same. As Thomas Edison once said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
A Healthy Debate
A Teenager’s Vision for Facilitating Online Discussions
When it comes to the growth of a society’s knowledge about itself and its surrounding environment, the dialogue that we engage in on a daily basis is beyond important. Often time this dialogue is comprised of congruent ideologies, however this is not always the case. On Reddit, there exists a community called “Change My View” where people are invited to “post an opinion [they] accept may be flawed, in an effort to understand other perspectives on the issue.” This has been met with extreme popularity as people from around the world have conversed with one another to work towards a better understanding of the fluidity of perspective. This subreddit community came to existence in 2013 when the then high-school senior Kal Turnbull decided that there should be a better way for people to have constructive conversations with each other online. Six years later, over 720,000 people have subscribed to this subreddit and it is a booming platform for the sharing of perspectives, experiences, and ideologies. Looking ahead, turnbull decided that this was just the beginning and decided to launch the website www.ChangeAView.comwith a couple of the other moderators in hopes to scale this concept further. We see innovations like this as being of tremendous importance to the growth of a more understanding and welcoming future. As Thomas Edison once said, “not everything of value in life comes from books- experience the world,” and what better way to experience the world than to explore the depths of another person’s perspective.
As new challenges arise every day, it is imperative to maintain a sense of curiosity that inspires growth in our communities and across the world. We are both honored and motivated to be in a field where we have an opportunity to influence positive change in the world. Once again, we would like to extend gratitude towards the Edison Awards and we look forward to continuing on this path of innovative growth.