A team of Locust Valley Intermediate School fifth-graders has been named the regional winners in the TOSHIBA ExploraVision competition. Roarke Creedon, Shawn Kapoor and Matthew Klein created the project, Plant Power, the Super-Hydrophobic Lotus Leaf, which proposes to make airplane flight safer through a de-icing/anti-icing innovation. It involves nano-imprinting the lotus leaf pattern onto an airplane’s exterior. The surface of the lotus leaf repels water and the students proposed the use of the leaf’s design to repel the water off an airplane’s surface. 

Currently, the airplane industry addresses ice and snow build-up after it has formed on the exterior of an airplane. These de-icing and anti-icing processes use chemicals that run-off into the water and impact the natural habitat. The students’ innovation involves the nano-imprinting of the lotus leaf pattern on airplane exteriors so that ice and snow no longer build up and affect airplane safety. The invention prevents the problem from happening rather than treating the plane once the ice has formed.

The LVI team will now create a working website and video based on their project. This media component will be judged against the five other regional winners in their grade level at the next level of the TOSHIBA competition. As regional winners, Roarke, Shawn and Matt, each won a TOSHIBA tablet and are each eligible to win a $10,000 or $5,000 U.S. savings bond if they win the national portion of the contest. Winners will be announced on April 18.

The students were mentored and coached by Anne Joyce and Maria Sidor. Mrs. Joyce said the competition fits in with the curriculum perfectly. “Research is part of the library and technology curriculum from kindergarten through high school,” she explained. “When our students apply their research and analysis skills in a nationwide competition, it helps to broaden their view of the world. Students see that their ideas are possible, that the future is within reach and they can play an active role in moving our world forward. ”

TOSHIBA is about innovating – looking at the world and trying to figure out how to make one part of it healthier, cleaner and safer. Students came up with and researched solutions to different problems in the world. They wrote detailed research papers that discussed their ideas. Students at Bayville Elementary, Locust Valley Middle School and Locust Valley High School also competed in this year’s TOSHIBA ExploraVision competition.