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Edison Awards News

‘Young Edison’ Students Winners Announced

The annual Edison Universe Student Innovation Contest concluded in May with the announcement of two ‘Young Edison’ students from the CAPS program. CAPS stands for the Center for Advanced Professional Studies and is a nationally recognized high school program that fully immerses students in a professional culture with personalized learning experiences solving real world problems.

Edison Universe is committed to inspiring educational institutions and supporting the business world. Motivated by Edison’s unique vision, unbridled optimism, and insatiable curiosity, Edison Universe is focused on nourishing the possibilities, opportunities and foundations of success to empower the imaginations and vision of tomorrow’s inventors and innovators.

Students from four states in the CAPS program entered their innovations for an opportunity to win an adventure trip to Costa Rica or Peru through G Adventures. Twenty-one students submitted their innovations, and in the end, two grand prize winners were selected. G Adventures is a small-group travel company and social enterprise that offers more purposeful travel.



by Nicholas Markels
Park City, UT

“First off I would like to thank Edison Universe for this opportunity and my CAPS teachers and mentors for the guidance and support they provided me. I couldn’t have achieved this success without them.

My goal with Sporknife was to help solve the issue of pollution with single-use plastic utensils. Every year, 6 million tons of waste from plastic utensils end up in our oceans. These plastics stay in oceans for 300-500 years. Currently, there are 700 marine species in danger of extinction due to this pollution.

Fully biodegradable and eco-friendly utensils exist; however, due to their increased cost compared to traditional non-biodegradable utensils, they are not cost-effective for most businesses to use. My idea was to change the production method of biodegradable utensils to make them cheaper to produce. Sporknife has a unique, single assembly design; the spork and knife are built as a single unit rather than separate utensils. Since only one assembly line has to be run rather than individual ones for each utensil, production costs can be dramatically reduced and therefore lowered the price the customer pays, making it more appealing to them.

During use, the single assembly is split into two separate utensils (similar to chopsticks). This gives Sporknife the same functionality as regular utensils while retaining its cost-effective single assembly design. By manufacturing Sporknife with corn-based bio-plastics, it will be fully biodegradable, so when thrown out it will decompose naturally into the earth’s carbon cycle within 3-6 months. Bioplastics have little to no impact on the environment compared to the drastic effects traditional plastics do.” ~Nick Markels


By Ashlyn Kennedy
Overland Park, KS

“I’d like to give a big ‘Thank You’ to Edison Universe & the CAPS Network for naming me a “Young Edison” in the Student Innovation Contest for my work on Crybaby.

For every 100,000 babies born, 587 babies die. As unreal as it may seem, every year 1,500 die of sudden infant death syndrome 1,200 die of unknown causes and 900 die of accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed. That unfortunate statistic is exactly the reason I created crybaby. Crybaby is a lightweight hypoallergenic and impenetrable silicone bracelet and Bluetooth parent app that monitors infant vitals including respiratory rate, heart rate, body temperature, and even sleep cycle in real time. Not only that but it also uses artificial intelligence to compare pitch and frequency within your child’s cry to detect and report the reason your child is crying as well as alerts you if your child is out of a set distance range. This combats children wandering off and even abduction. But the convenience doesn’t end there. Crybaby delivers immediate pediatric advice and connects you to nearby pediatricians as well as offers an integrated calendar to keep track of upcoming appointments and other baby oriented events and commitments. But the best part is that this can all be done at the tip of your fingers with the easy to navigate user interface of the app. The next step for Crybaby is pitching to larger wearable tech companies capable of creating a fully functional product and going to market. Crybaby is designed to ease the worries of parents all over the nation and aims to prevent infant deaths and illnesses by notifying you as soon as an irregularity is detected. After all, there is no price to a child’s life.” ~Ashlyn Kennedy



Secure Facility Robotics
by Nathaniel Denham & Nicco Shaw
Peoria, AZ

During active threats, school administrators/responders are confused as to the location/armament of the threat. We make our schools safer through small robotic surveillance that is ready instantly, adaptably, and efficiently to assess the threat.


These student innovators brought to life Edison’s values by providing innovative solutions to problems displayed within their communities. Their adventure trip will provide experiential learning activities in other cultures to further inspire more innovation and passion for invention.

If you would like to assist student innovators through Edison Universe or learn more about the program, please visit our Edison Universe page, or contact Mary Odom for more details.