(Photo : Pixabay/sabinevanerp) App for elderly depression and anxiety

Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow winners for this year were announced on May 18. It is a national competition tasking students in Grades 6 through 12 to use STEM subjects to solve a problem in their local community.

The winning projects focused at combating COVID-related depression and loneliness, cleaning litter in abandoned sites, and using smartphones to record interactions with law enforcement easily for accountability.

Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow

Since 2010, Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow has offered a $2 million prize pool as part of the contest. Around 75 semi-finalists are awarded $15,000 in technology and supplies, and 10 national finalists are chosen to participate in a virtual pitch event to present their project to a panel of judges.

Out of all those finalists, 7 will be awarded $65,000 in tech and classroom supplies, and the three grand prize winners will get $130,000 each, according to Samsung Newsroom.

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Ann Woo, director of Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow program, tells CNET that students, and the entire younger generation, are listening to issues of their local community. She said that they are internalizing all issues, and that they feel empowered to do something about it.

Woo adds that this is a generation of students not waiting for others to fix things for them. Younger people are now aware that issues are happening around them, and they do not want to wait much longer. They are stepping up to solve these issues themselves.

Three National Grand Prize Winners

Here are the winners of Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow. 

Hope of Detroit Academy (Detroit, Michigan)

The students from Hope of Detroit Academy in Detroit, Michigan, live in a community with excessive amounts of garbage, used tires that are left in open spaces, and unsecured, abandoned homes.

For their project submission to the contest, the students of Hope of Detroit Academy created an app called the Green Warrior to track sites with said problems and report them to local organizations that help lead clean-up efforts.

Porter High School (Porter, Texas)

According to a study published on JAMA Network, as many as 1 in 4 older adults have been reported as having anxiety or depression amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This is very disoncerting, as these conditions lead to increased risk of developing dementia and other serious health concerns.

The students from Porter High School from Porter, Texas, created an app-website combo called Gen-Bridge, which connects students and others to numerous seniors who are living in assisted living facilities. It will give them a chance to do video calls or play games virtually to entertain these elders and ease their loneliness.

Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy (Erie, Pennsylvania)

After protests over racial injustice happening nationwide in 2020, students from Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy from Erie, Pennsylvania decided to take on a project that could help people use their smartphones more easily.

They can record interactions with authorities during protests, rallies, and routine traffic stops to help capture potentially threatening situations.

The students developed a voice-activated mobile app that turns phones into body or dash cameras when a trigger word is said. It then allows the user to capture the whole interaction.

Nearly 25,000 schools participated in Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow contest since it began.

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Written by Sophie Webster

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