Over the years, several participants in the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fairs have truly made a lasting impression. Rick Housley is one of them. Now a sophomore at Stevens Institute of Technology, Rick graduated from Boston University Academy in 2012. A multi-award-winning exhibitor during his middle and high school years, Rick launched his science fair career with the development of a computer controlled robotic arm in 6th grade. Rick recalls that the complexity of his projects increased from year to year:
"As I matured my projects did too. They grew in complexity, depth, and real-world applicability. In 7th grade I made the robotic arm wireless. In 8th grade I developed a device capable of controlling electrical sockets via text message. In 9th grade I made my 8th grade project capable of controlling almost anything via text message, even those troublesome home appliances. In 10th grade I found my passion for biomedical devices and developed a wearable navigation system for blind users: a device that would announce to the user the location of 'key objects' within a room."
Rick won the prestigious Frederick P. Fish Patent Award at the 2011 State High School Fair for his E-LERT device, which was also the basis of his first-place project in 2012's state fair. At the beginning of his senior year, Rick told us, "I hope to make E-LERT a device that can really change lives." He seems to be well on his way, having signed an assignment agreement with a medical device company for IP and technology related to the E-LERT project. Rick recently gave a talk about his project on TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. We can't wait to see what else is in store for this amazing young man. Congratulations, Rick!