TroyMarch 20, 2012
Morse fifth-graders devise tires that tread water
By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer
What if your car could adjust to weather conditions and traffic, and detect potholes?
Four fifth-graders at Morse Elementary School, with help from their teacher, Jodi Martin and parent/mentor Kenneth Barton, envisioned a Tread Transforming Smart Car, which would detect driving conditions by satellite and send the information to a computer in the car that would adjust the tread on the tires depending on the weather conditions.
They submitted the concept to the 2012 Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Program — and won.
The Morse Smart Car proposal was selected from more than 4,800 entries and now advances, along with 24 regional winning teams, to the national competition. The team will create a website for the concept that will be judged in April.
“We didn’t know what we were getting into when we started,” Martin said. “We’re so excited for the next step.”
“It was a voluntary project, and not part of the curriculum,” she added.
The team – Siddarth Marthi, Srikbharat Koripella, Henry Barton and Prashant Shankar —has met afterschool for one hour on Wednesdays and Thursdays since November and formulated the concept with help from Barton and parent Bascer Marthi.
Mike Fisher, Toshiba spokesman, stopped by the school to present the team with the award. Toshiba will also give the school a new Toshiba laptop, and each child on the team gets an underwater camera.
Fisher noted that more than 300,000 students have participated in the competition over the last 20 years.
“It’s a very cool thing your classmates did,” he said at a schoolwide assembly at the school March 1.
Henry Barton explained that the tire tread transforms.
“If it’s icy, tires are treaded, if it’s dry, the tires are bald,” Koripella said.
Marthi said the information on the terrain would be transmitted via satellite to computers in cars through a control tower, so all cars can adjust their treads.
Electromagnets would be placed inside the tires, and a current would be injected to change the tread, Shankar added.
“We’re proud to have these kids represent Morse,” Morse Elementary Principal Stephanie Acord said.
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