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The winners of the latest State Science & Engineering Fair of Florida (FSSEF) were announced on 2 March 2013. Among the best ones we find a 13-year-old girl from South Florida, with a BCI project that aims to someday make life easier for the physically challenged.

This year’s Grand Award for Physical Science at FSSEF was awarded to Daniela Rodriguez from Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Miami Springs, whose brain-computer interface project consists of an Emotiv EPOC headset linked to a robotic device named Steve, which is a brainwave-controlled laptop on wheels.

“It captures the brain waves of electrochemical activity. Basically, the nerve impulse produced by the brain, and it sends it over to the robot,” said Daniela Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who loves math and science and has always been interested in robotics, is strongly inspired by her mom who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996 and constantly tries to stay mobile.


Daniela wants to help her and other people as well. “If the person is disabled, they can sit in their wheelchair, and they can use their thoughts and brain waves to control its movements, so they don’t have to move,” says the 13-year-old junior engineer.

Daniela won first place against 900 other finalists.