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Entries in Girl Scouts (2)

Wednesday
May042011

Girl Scouts Patent Prosthetic Device for Toddler, Win $20,000 Prize

Courtesy Dale Fairchild(AMES, Iowa) -- Forget selling cookies to earn badges. Girl Scouts today build innovative biomedical devices to win patents.

In what the Girl Scouts of the USA said may be its first patent-worthy project, a group of Girl Scouts from Ames, Iowa, developed a prosthetic hand device to help a three-year-old toddler without fingers write. The device not only won the group the $20,000 FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award from the X Prize Foundation last month, it scored the scouts a provisional patent.

"I thought it was awesome," said Zoe Groat, 12, a sixth-grade member of the team called the Flying Monkeys. "It was really exciting to know that someone was able to use something we made."

Along with five other girls aged 11- to 13-years-old, Groat entered the worldwide FIRST LEGO League science and engineering challenge that, this past year, focused on robotics applied to medical issues.

They'd already decided to work on hand and arm prosthetics when Melissa Murray, one of the scouts' mothers and co-coach of the team, met Dale Fairchild on a Yahoo Group for families affected by congenital limb differences. (Murray's daughter, one of the Flying Monkeys, uses an adaptive device for a hand difference.)

Fairchild's three-year-old daughter Danielle, born with symbrachydactyly, had a thumb and palm but no fingers on her right hand. Once the Flying Monkeys learned about Danielle, they decided to dedicate their project to helping her.

Between the fall of 2010 and this spring, the girls spent at least 180 hours on the project, Murray said. They met with prosthetics manufacturers and doctors to research the project. Once they had Danielle's measurements, they tried using all kinds of materials found in crafts shops and medical specialty stores to create the most helpful device.

Finally, they settled on an invention made from moldable plastic (like that used by occupational therapists), a pencil grip and Velcro (to help fasten the device to Danielle's hand). In total, the device cost less than $50 to make, Murray said.

"The kids all learned -- and they will tell you -- that it is a trial and error process and you learn a lot from your mistakes," Murray said.

The team recently received a provisional patent for their device and will use the prize money to file for a utility patent, Murray. It could take up to three years to secure the final patent but Murray said the scouts "would love to see it go as far as they can go."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Monday
Apr112011

Study Claims Scouts Reinforce Gender Stereotypes

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(COLLEGE PARK, Md.) -- The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts remain out-of-step with modern times, perpetuating gender stereotypes about femininity and masculinity in their manuals, according to a new study.

Kathleen Denny, a sociology graduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park, points out that the Girl Scouts manual talks about badges that back up her theory, including Caring for Children, Looking Your Best and Sew Simple.

For instance, the section under "Looking Your Best" tells girls "take turns holding different colors up to your face (to) decide which colors look best on each of you."  Meanwhile, an accessory party advises girls to figure out "how accessories highlight your features and your outfit."

The closest the Boy Scouts get to that is a Fitness badge, Denny says, which encourages boys to write down what they eat for a week and explains the dangers of drugs and alcohol to a family member.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio