Ben Luterbach receives his iPad Air from Beth Corven

Castlegar boys take contest by storm: Youngest participants prove to be fiercest competitors

Castlegar youngster Ben Luterbach has come up with an idea for a problem solving contraption.

  • Jan. 15, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Castlegar youngster Ben Luterbach has come up with an idea for a problem solving contraption.

His concept was so good that the Grade 3 student has won the  2014 Kootenay Contraption Contest.

The event is hosted each year by the Kootenay Association for Science & Technology’s (KAST) Growing, Learning Opportunities with Science (GLOWS) program.

Young students from school districts 8, 10, 20 and 51 were asked the question, “In 50 years, what new technology or advancements in existing technology will we use to increase our food supply?”

Ben rose to the occasion and took home the grand prize, an iPad Air, for his 3D Food Printer invention.

“I immediately thought of the possibility of using technology to create food,” he said about his invention.

Luterbach’s printer would work by plugging an electronic device into the printer and hooking up printing spools containing proteins, carbs, sugars, fats, cellulose and water. It’s as simple as typing the food that you want into the device and pressing send.

“It will help people who can’t go to the grocery store,” Ben explained.

In addition to the iPad Air, Ben received a letter of congratulations from the lead engineers at FortisBC, the primary sponsor of the contest.

Program Manager for GLOWS, Beth Corven explained what exactly GLOWS is all about.

“GLOWS is a program that attempts to get kids interested in science education or careers. It’s one of our younger ages engagement programs, focused on engaging kids in science, technology and innovative thinking.”

Corven said the Contraption Contest has been an annual competition for over five years now but the turnout this year was far above those that came before.

About 155 students in Grades 2 through 8 came out to showcase their intellectual prowess and passion for the sciences. This is a sharp contrast to last year’s number, which was around 44 students.

Organizers said the  children involved all had great ideas  — no matter how impractical — ranging from food pens to draw and deliver mashed potatoes, to sustainable food producing apartments where mushrooms could be harvested for delicious appetizers.

“A lot of the ideas involve things that couldn’t be actualized; it’s mostly to get the kids thinking outside the box,” Corven added.

The judging panel consists of four judges; two from FortisBC and two from KAST. The judges go through contenders from each grade level and then discuss the ideas these youngsters bring forth.

Castlegar proved to be a strong contender this year as Corven said when it came down to it, it was between Luterbach and another boy from Castlegar.

Brayden Bryanton (Grade 2) from Twin Rivers Elementary was that runner up, but still managed to take home the grade-level prize and earn a pizza party for his class.

“It was neat to have such strong entries from the younger kids,” said Corven.

Other grade-level winners came from schools in Trail, New Denver, and Nelson.

 

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