Honorable Mention - High School, International

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 14: Life Below Water

2023 Youth Design Challenge

This design concept was developed by participants in the Institute’s Youth Design Challenge. The descriptions below are from the team’s competition entry materials.

School: Dulwich College Beijing
Location: Beijing, China
Coach: Joanne Anderson, Thomas Cawley
Team members: Angelina Chang, Sidney Hou, Vivianne Ni

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Innovation Details

What is the problem your team solved for this challenge? What is the problem addressed? How is the problem connected to the selected SDG?

Our solution was to focus on the collection of microplastics in the ocean. For this challenge, we decided to focus on SDG 14 : Life below water, this goal covers things such as overfishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification.

How was your solution inspired by nature? What (at least two) organisms did you learn from? How effectively did you combine the biological strategies for the final design?

We mainly focused on 3 organisms for this challenge, the fishing spider, the pelican and the remora. The main biological strategy we used is the pouch of the pelican has sensory nerves running through its stretchy skin. This is helpful for pelicans when they’re foraging for fish at night or in murky water. We have successfully incorporated this in our design and added in a PIR sensor in order to detect the microplastics.

What does your design solution do? How does it solve or mitigate the problem you selected? How did what you learn inform your design?

Our design used the starfish’s body to glide across the surface of the water and on the ocean’s ground. Whilst the Pelican collects and stores the microplastics.