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June 17, 2013

Local teen explores wireless technology

Project earned Cade Meurer spot in Google Science Fair regional finals.

Eighteen-year-old Cade Meurer has spent years exploring ways to transmit electricity wirelessly – a fairly new concept that’s now earning him national recognition.

The recent Eastern High School graduate submitted his research and work to Google Science Fair, and he just found out that he’s a regional finalist in the competition.

Only thirty 17- and 18-year-olds from around the world made that cut. He’s competing against 17-year-old Sagnik Chakraborty from India whose project explores electricity from traffic. There’s also Charalampos Ioannou, 17, Greece, who developed an exoskeleton glove that enhances and supports movement of the human palm.

There are contestants from Australia, Canada, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Ukraine and Singapore. Their projects were designed to do things like create new technologies for quadriplegics or help struggling farmers in India.

Meurer’s project posed a specific question. He wanted to know whether transmitting electricity wirelessly could be both practical and efficient without causing major interruptions to radios, electronic devices or even medical equipment.

“Wireless electricity sounds kind of crazy, but it’s not,” said Meurer’s physics teacher Ben Cox. “There’s work being done on this at MIT.”

Meurer himself proved last year that the technology works. He was able to turn on an LED light bulb using wireless electricity.

It’s something he tinkered with for quite some time, he said.

“That was definitely an awesome moment,” he said.

But he focused his research this year on whether the technology could be implemented on a much larger scale.

There aren’t a lot of people working on this technology, though, he said. Even the engineers he met at other science fairs only had a basic understanding of it.

He spent a lot of time teaching himself. Meurer taught himself some calculus. He read from a teacher’s electrodynamics textbook to learn what he could from the college-level physics material. He also did a lot of research online. Meurer said he would watch an MIT professor’s lectures on YouTube when he got home from school.

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