How Teachers and Technology are Empowering Students to Change the World

State finalists in Samsung’s 2017-18 Solve for Tomorrow contest employ technology to address opioid addiction, mental illness, natural disasters and more.

Proving how deeply passionate people are, regardless of age or experience, about affecting change in our complex world, students and teachers lined up across the country to compete in Samsung’s annual Solve for Tomorrow Contest. The one common goal being to positively change the world around them.

The annual Samsung competition challenges students in grades 6 through 12 to identify an issue significantly impacting their local community – such as food scarcity, cyber-bullying, wildfires – and to create a solution to the problem using science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) skills.

Student winners from Gering High School’s 2016-17 Solve for Tomorrow competition team show off their winning idea using drone technology that helps farmers map crops to limit pesticide use.

Student winners from Gering High School’s 2016-17 Solve for Tomorrow competition team show off their winning idea using drone technology that helps farmers map crops to limit pesticide use.

This year’s Solve for Tomorrow projects reflect the issues most pivotal in these students’ daily lives.

Now in phase III of the competition, 51 finalist teams, one from every state and the District of Columbia, have proposed developing tangible, scientific solutions to critical issues like opioid addiction, mental illness, natural disasters and so much more. To qualify for the final stages of the contest, the students are now working with their teachers to prototype the idea they proposed as a solution to a community-specific challenge.

Here’s a look at a sample of some of the student teams’ ideas in progress.

Fueled by empathy and a desire to help those battling opioid addiction and drug overdose, teams from Connecticut, Oklahoma and Kentucky will be working to invent various proposed solutions:

  • An automated, locked pill dispenser with facial recognition technology
  • A digital platform that provides medication tracking, prescription details and risk levels for addiction while connecting users with resources and emergency information
  • A device that will safely dispose and collect hazardous needles from local streets and parks

“With technology at their disposal to invent potentially far-reaching solutions,
the sky’s the limit for our next generation of scientists.”

Ann Woo, Sr. Director of Corporate Citizenship for Samsung Electronics America


Other teams will be working to find creative solutions to help improve the lives of others. Many of the applicant schools found inspiration from their family members or fellow students and are working to find a way to help people with disabilities to live more independently. The state finalist teams from schools in New Hampshire, Delaware and Minnesota have proposed to build:

  • A pair of compression pants that will deliver electrical stimulation for paraplegics
  • Devices to assist physically handicapped students with performing everyday tasks
  • A self-driven robot to help visually impaired students navigate around school

Natural disaster is another high-profile challenge students and their teachers are focusing on this year. One school in Southern California is working on an outdoor fire extinguishing system for homes that use technology to sense heat, then disperse pressurized carbon dioxide to diffuse a fire. In a North Carolina community that often struggles with frequent flash flooding, the team envisions developing a water sensor and barrier system that would deploy once water levels reach unsafe conditions.

“It’s clear the ideas submitted this year by teachers and their students not only demonstrates the level of awareness our nation’s youth has for problems impacting their everyday lives but also the level of inspiration they possess for proposing practical solutions,” said Ann Woo, Sr. Director of Corporate Citizenship for Samsung Electronics America. “With technology at their disposal to invent potentially far-reaching solutions, the sky’s the limit for our next generation of scientists.”

*All State Finalists have been awarded a prize from Samsung and the published random samples do not reflect any standing in the competition or judges scores leading to the next round of competition.

Solve for Tomorrow

Read more about Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest, past winning projects and the students and teachers behind them.


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