January 31, 2024

Irvine Public Schools Foundation is proud to support the exceptional achievements of IUSD students at the 43rd Annual Science Fair! With over 300 projects from students in grades 6-12, Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) had outstanding participation. Remarkably, nearly 2/3 of the projects from IUSD advanced to the prestigious Orange County Science and Engineering Fair in March, setting a record for the highest number from any school district in Orange County. Congratulations to all the amazing participants!

Ishani Bhola, a 7th-grade student at Beacon Park School, received the Broadcom Coding with Commitment® award for her passion and dedication to solve a community problem that she cares about. Her project called “Eye-Wear: An Assistive Navigational Wearable Device for Visually Impaired” aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #3 Good Health & Well Being and #10 Reduce Inequalities!

Inspired by the challenges that more than 2.2 billion people globally with visual impairment face each day navigating their surroundings safely, Ishani developed her idea for the “Eye-wear” glasses. Her goal was to make the new device not only effective, but also affordable and comfortable to wear to ensure it would be accessible to people around the world!

Her novel design retrofits a pair of standard glasses with a small ultrasonic sensor that triggers a buzzer to alert the user of obstacles, all programmed by a small Arduino board mounted on one of the temples. Ishani tested her prototype by sending blindfolded subjects through a variety of obstacle courses and gathered data to evaluate the device’s efficacy. The glasses helped reduce collisions with obstacles from 95% to just 5%, however Ishani is already thinking about ways to improve her design.

“My next step to improve upon my device will be to add capability of detecting objects from all around the person and at varying height levels. I would also like to add Artificial Intelligence to enable the obstacle type detection and orientating,” she explains.

Ishani’s project exemplifies the innovative and inventive solutions Irvine students are developing to address real-world challenges. With the solid foundation provided by IUSD, our students are well on their way to shaping the future of science, engineering, and technology. Check out her award-winning project presentation.

The IUSD Science Fair serves as a platform for students to delve into their scientific passions through either inquiry or engineering projects. This enriching experience, undertaken by individual students or small groups outside of regular school hours, is sponsored through a collaboration between Irvine Public Schools Foundation and Broadcom Foundation.

Projects showcased at the Science Fair are just a glimpse into the many scientific and engineering explorations happening across our district. We extend our gratitude to all the students who contributed to the success of this year’s fair and acknowledge the dedication of our educators who play a pivotal role in providing students with a robust science and engineering education.

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