While most kids are playing video games, Trey Oehmler is creating them.
"I found a free Apple developer program and developed iTennis," Oehmler, who created his own iPhone app, said. "I have an iPhone and I love the apps, so I wanted to go for it."
iTennis is not just an app; it is a video game akin to Pong from the old Atari system.
Oh and Oehmler is only 12 years old. Yes, no need to re-read the previous sentence; he really is 12. Before you pick your jaw up off the floor, keep in mind that this is just one of the several amazing projects students presented on Technology Night at New Canaan High.
"This is the night for the kids to shine," Rob Miller, director of information and communication technologies, said. "We have a nice range of projects from elementary school students to high school students. It provides an avenue for students to explore their talents that goes beyond the curriculum."
Explore might be an understatement. These students are pioneering a new technology movement that has impacts in every subject from music to marketing. Take NCHS seniors Nick Howard, Jacob Ostling, Paul Templeton and Taylor Parsons for instance. They are using extremely advanced technology to develop a prototype for a brand new water bottle that is capable of mixing drinks for their Senior Engineering Course project. They are using the Engineering Department's 3D printer to produce bottles made of thermal plastic. And it doesn't end there; they are actually hoping to produce the product to sell in the area. The basic premise of the prototype is that is has two chambers capable of holding two different drinks and can also be mixed if needed. They call it "Drink-Free."
"I love Arnold Palmer lemonade," Nick Howard said. "It inspired us to make something that can capitalize on drinks similar to Arnold Palmer that mix iced tea, juice and other drinks."
Keep a lookout in your local supermarket for "Drink-Free" products because it sounds like these guys might be on their way to a successful business before graduation. In addition to the business side, many students used technology to show off their musical prowess. Ryyan Taylor and Stewart Taylor used Logic Studio to create rap beats for their music tech class.
"We used different synths to create heavy beats for our songs," Ryyan Taylor said while Stewart added his own twist to the songs on the keyboard. The sounds filled up the whole room along side some other musical projects. Right next to the Taylors was the iPad ensemble where Julia Ripley, Michell Halpern, Kristina Parret and Nick Zanca displayed their own original tunes created on the iPad music applications. Turns out you don't need a top-notch recording studio or expensive instruments to have your musical talents recognized. Bono would be proud.
Now while many of the high school students had a lot of sophisticated projects, some of the younger students had some other equally exciting things on display. Two projects in particular explored the mechanics of catapults and cannons. Paul Gelhaus and Connor DeMayo, two seventh graders, had on display two air cannons with video evidence of their tremendous power. Whether it was firing snow or potatoes, it works with great success. On the smaller side, Tyler Hill, Joshua Loud and Brink Rocco, three sixth graders, built working catapults that also explained how certain medieval weapons functioned.
So all in all, New Canaan students presented technology projects that went beyond science. Whether it applied to business, music, movies, history or just good old fashioned curiosity and fun, one thing is certain -- these kids all have a bright future ahead of them. Keep a lookout in your iPhone, there might be a New Canaan students' section in there someday.