This year’s winners were: Lewis Greenstein, 18, of Seattle, WA, who developed the Dual IV/Syringe Pump (for the Teen category) and Lauren Lee, 12, of Cupertino, CA, who built the Drug Delivery Device (for the Junior category). The Challenge was open to K-12 student in the United States and asked to create a digital 3D model of an object that could be used by an astronaut to maintain physical health on a 3-year mission to Mars.
The design had to be intended to be 3D printed and could be used for a range of medical needs including diagnostic, preventative, first-aid, emergency, surgical, and/or dental purposes. Exercise, psychological, and nutritional health, while important, were not priority areas for this challenge. Retired astronaut Scott Kelly’s historic one-year mission on ISS provided insights on how the human body reacts to long duration spaceflight, but the Journey to Mars will take approximately 30 months. What health-related items do you think an astronaut will need on that journey, and why would these items require a 3D printer? The challenge asked to start flexing problem-solving and design skills to find a solution.
The competition’s 8 finalists each received a MakerBot Replicator Mini+, then in turn donated the printers to schools of their choice.