Ontario Science Centre announces winners of national prize
TORONTO, May 17, 2012 /CNW/ - "If we were unable to immobilize a petite teenager, how would we ever immobilize a child," wondered lifeguards Charlotte Donaldson and Megan Smith. The grade 12 students from Hants County, Nova Scotia created a Universal Spinal Board designed so rescue workers can safely move people of all ages, heights and weights who have suffered a spinal injury. On the basis of this creative approach to problem solving, Smith and Donaldson are the winners of the Ontario Science Centre's 2012 Weston Youth Innovation Award, a national prize for students aged 14 to 18.
"Smith and Donaldson's project demonstrates how science and technology can be used in real world applications," says Dr. Hooley McLaughlin, Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre and Chair of the Weston Youth Innovation Award Jury. "Seeing science and technology as a part of our everyday lives captures the true spirit of the Weston Youth Innovation Award."
Their Universal Spinal Board prototype features a design with free-moving straps that can accommodate any body size. Lightweight and buoyant, the Universal Spinal Board is made from pine plywood and covered with multi-purpose rubber floor matting to prevent slipping and drastically reduce the risk of pressure sores. The pair added shock absorbers on the bottom of their design that protect both the victim and rescuers' fingers.
Extensive trials compared standard spinal boards to their improved design using different sized victims and various lifeguards, each time measuring the distance the victim's body slid down the board during removal. "For all trials, our improved Universal Spinal Board provided a better quality of immobilization, at times decreasing the distance the victim slid by up to 400%," says Smith.
"Plus, victims reported feeling more comfortable and secure on our Universal Spinal Board prototype," adds Donaldson.
In addition to winning the Ontario Science Centre's 2012 Weston Youth Innovation Award, the pair has applied for a patent grant for their Universal Spinal Board design.
Smith and Donaldson will be awarded the $2,000 prize at an event at the Ontario Science Centre on Thursday, May 17th. In addition, they will work with a multimedia team at the Science Centre to create a short animation showcasing their Universal Spinal Board project to be displayed in the Weston Family Innovation Centre. Details of their project are posted at www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca/innovationaward.
"The Weston Youth Innovation Award recognizes young Canadians who are already making positive changes in our world," says Serena Mitchell, family representative of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and a Jury member. "Smith and Donaldson's Universal Spinal Board demonstrates the ingenuity we look for in award winners."
The finalists for the 2012 Weston Youth Innovation Award included:
- HONOURABLE MENTION: Shayla Larson and Adam Noble (Peterborough, ON), for their work testing water quality using the Euglina organism to indicate the presence of nanosilver in Canada's waterways.
- Marshall Zhang (North York, ON), for his work researching new and innovative drug treatments for cystic fibrosis.
- Rachel Brown and Katie van der Sloot (Medicine Hat, AB), for their work investigating how Triclosan may contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and encouraging public awareness about this issue.
- The Sentinels Robotics Team (Markham, ON), for their work in concept development of an internal glucose monitoring system to aid in diabetes management.
The Weston Youth Innovation Award was established to encourage and recognize young Canadian innovators and was named in recognition of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation's $15 million lead gift to the Ontario Science Centre's Agents of Change initiative, and to honour the Foundation's support and commitment to education.
About the Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre delights, informs and challenges the communities we serve, enriching people's lives and understanding through engagement with science of local, national and global relevance. Since 1969, the Ontario Science Centre has welcomed over 45 million visitors, with an interactive approach that was the model for Science Centres around the world. It is the public centre for innovative thinking and provocative dialogue in science and technology, aiming to inspire a lifelong journey of curiosity, discovery and action to create a better future for the planet. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario. Please visit us at Ontariosciencecentre.ca. www.Facebook.com/OntarioScienceCentre
Twitter: @OntScienceCtr. YouTube: www.YouTube.com/user/OntarioScienceCentre.
Award Review Panel
- Dr. Hooley McLaughlin, Vice President Science Experience and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre
- Serena Mitchell, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
- Dr. Marc Nantel, Associate Vice-President - Research & Innovation, Niagara College Canada
- Dr. Barbara Murck, Director of Environmental Programs and Senior Lecturer, University of Toronto
- Weige Charlie Zhao, Ontario Science Centre Science School student
Image with caption: "Evolutionary Spinal Board earns Nova Scotia students Charlotte Donaldson and Megan Smith the Ontario Science Centre's 2012 Weston Youth Innovation Award. The grade 12 students created a Universal Spinal Board designed so rescue workers can safely move people of all ages, heights and weights who have suffered a spinal injury, earning them this national prize for students aged 14 to 18. (CNW Group/Ontario Science Centre)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120517_C8401_PHOTO_EN_13891.jpg
For further information:
or to arrange an interview please contact:
Anna Relyea, Director, Strategic Communications
Ontario Science Centre
Jefferson Darrell, Media Relations Officer
Ontario Science Centre