AI-Powered Wizard Chess and Robot Bikes: Six Students Innovating with Technology

Young Innovators: Student Projects Showcasing AI Creativity

Despite concerns about cheating, a group of young students, some as young as 15, are exploring the possibilities of ChatGPT and similar AI tools to tackle challenges and enjoy the process.

By Jane Baker
March 20, 2024

Over a year after the surprise launch of ChatGPT brought AI to the forefront, educators and policymakers continue to express concerns about students resorting to AI for academic dishonesty. An October survey revealed that about two-thirds of high school and college instructors are revising their assignments due to apprehensions about AI, with many opting for handwritten tasks, in-class assessments, or oral exams.

However, a select group of students have embraced AI in a different light, incorporating it into their academic pursuits and future aspirations. While educators are devising strategies to counter AI’s influence in education, these students are actively engaging with the technology, investing hours in developing tools that they hope will shape their professional trajectories.

In a recent survey conducted by ACT, nearly half of high school students preparing for the June 2023 exam had utilized AI tools, predominantly ChatGPT, for various school assignments. This trend underscores the growing interest among students in leveraging AI for learning purposes.

The 74 sought out young individuals deeply immersed in AI, discovering a cohort of students, some as young as 15, delving into AI research and development during high school.

These ambitious students are crafting an array of innovations using AI, ranging from autonomous bicycles to apps aiding new mothers with postpartum depression. From 911 chatbots to Harry Potter-inspired robotic chess sets, their projects exemplify the multifaceted applications of AI.

All share a common sentiment about AI: embrace it and educate yourself about its potential.

Isabela Ferrer

Age 17

Hometown Bogota, Colombia

School MAST Academy, Miami, Fla.

Current Project: A high school junior at MAST Academy, Ferrer is developing an AI tool to assist abandoned and abused children at the FANA foundation in Colombia in learning Spanish. Her project aims to enhance the children’s literacy skills to adapt to the educational system’s expectations.

Ferrer envisions further enhancements for her tool, including AI voice recognition features to detect signs of trauma in children’s voices, adding another layer of support to the educational intervention.

Post-graduation, Ferrer intends to engage with the Colombian startup ecosystem, emphasizing a global outlook in her endeavors.

Common AI Misconception: Ferrer emphasizes the accessibility of AI tools, dispelling the notion that AI is exclusive or overly complex. She highlights the potential for beneficial applications in various contexts beyond superficial tasks.

Shanzeh Haji

Age 16

Hometown Toronto, Canada

School Bayview Secondary School, Richmond Hill, Ontario

Upon learning about postpartum depression, Haji delved into developing an AI chatbot to aid new mothers and is exploring a symptom recognition platform.

AI Revelation: Haji emphasizes AI’s transformative potential in diverse fields, serving as a catalyst for innovation and positive change, contrary to prevalent negative perceptions.

Aditya Syam

Age 20

Hometown Mumbai, India

School Cornell University

Current Endeavor: Syam, a double major in math and computer science at Cornell, is part of a team working on an AI-powered autonomous bicycle for delivery services and logistical operations.

Perspective on AI: Syam underscores the longevity of AI technologies and their evolution over time. He highlights the blend of existing technologies in products like ChatGPT and their potential impact.

Vinitha Marupeddi

Age 21

Hometown San Jose, Calif.

School Purdue University

Current Project: Marupeddi, a senior at Purdue University, spearheaded the development of an AI chess game incorporating voice recognition and computer vision elements, inspired by the Wizard Chess game from Harry Potter. She envisions enhancing the learning experience through robotics and machine learning.

Her summer internship at a John Deere warehouse fueled her exploration of computer vision and robotics, promoting innovation in inventory tracking and storage optimization.

AI Insight: Marupeddi challenges the perception of AI as a mere convenience tool, advocating for utilizing AI to address real-world issues and systemic gaps, especially in underserved markets.

Vinaya Sharma

Age 18

Hometown Toronto, Canada

School Castlebrooke Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario

Current Initiatives: Sharma, a proactive high school senior, has ventured into various AI projects, ranging from an emergency response chatbot to a power grid simulation and a drug discovery tool.

Her innovative applications seek to address critical challenges in emergency response, energy distribution, and pharmaceutical research, aiming to streamline processes and enhance outcomes.

AI Perception: Sharma emphasizes the dual nature of AI’s impact, urging for a balanced approach that acknowledges both the risks and benefits of AI technologies. She advocates for leveraging AI for educational equity and societal advancement, underscoring the need for ethical and responsible AI usage.

Krishiv Thakuria

Age 15

Hometown Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

School The Woodlands Secondary School, Mississauga

Current Venture: Thakuria’s startup, Aceflow.org, focuses on AI-based learning tools to enhance student productivity and engagement. The platform offers personalized study resources and AI tutoring services to aid students in comprehending complex concepts effectively.

Thakuria underscores the significance of personalized learning experiences facilitated through AI tools, emphasizing the potential of AI in educational settings.

Through their innovative exploits and insights, these young AI enthusiasts are redefining the narrative around AI, showcasing its potential for creativity, problem-solving, and societal impact.

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