Sisters earn award with new device

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The way Mary Claire and Katherine Birdsong see it, their device is almost like a "pantyhose" of very fine wires that could be laid across atrophied muscles and help zap them back into shape. Their vision is now paying off.

Home-schooled sisters Mary Claire Birdsong (right), 13,  and Katherine Birdsong, 9, are regional winners in the ExploraVision national science and technology competition.  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Home-schooled sisters Mary Claire Birdsong (right), 13, and Katherine Birdsong, 9, are regional winners in the ExploraVision national science and technology competition.

The two Augusta homeschoolers were honored Friday for winning one of six regional prizes in the Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Awards. Theirs was chosen from among 4,257 entries in the annual contest.

"We were all shocked," said Katherine, 9, no pun intended.

The girls will go on to compete for the national prize next month.

Called the Micro-Fiber Nerve Muscle Activator, the device would use microwire or even nanowire to create a meshed sleeve that could be programmed to deliver electrical stimulation at a certain site on the muscle.

"With this technology, we can be much more precise," said Mary Claire, 13.

Being able to hit a specific spot to stimulate the muscle is important, said Eric Robertson, an assistant professor of physical therapy at the Medical College of Georgia.

Katherine originally conceived of the device as an overlay for her violin neck "to light up where my fingers were supposed to go," she said. But the girls changed it when they saw that a neighbor whose neck muscles had been weakened by an accident wasn't recovering well with current therapy.

"Not only is it a neat idea," said their mother, Lisa Birdsong, "but it might even work."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

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karmakills123
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karmakills123 04/05/08 - 04:54 am
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AHH chalk up another one for

AHH chalk up another one for Home-schoolers...........looks they are doing more than going to fashion shows.

christian134
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christian134 04/05/08 - 06:18 am
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This is wonderful, way to go

This is wonderful, way to go girls.....:-)

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/05/08 - 07:56 am
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Teaching outside the box

Teaching outside the box leads to thinking outside the box. Government schools, with agendas and ultra sensitive sensibilities and narrow parameters (usually the wrong ones) tend to stifle free ranging thought. One of the goals of government schools?

wootchieone
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wootchieone 04/05/08 - 08:00 am
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Family members home-schooled

Family members home-schooled their children but when they put them into public schools in middle school, they were moved a grade or two ahead of their peers and continuously make straigt A's.

Now what do you suppose the reason for this might be?

amazed1
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amazed1 04/05/08 - 08:03 am
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these are the kids that you

these are the kids that you can be proud of.

Chuchi
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Chuchi 04/05/08 - 08:55 am
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So young and so smart. Ages 9

So young and so smart. Ages 9 and 13. Wow. I hope they patent this and it can help people (and make these girls a fortune as well).

rzombie125
11
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rzombie125 04/05/08 - 09:23 am
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California is trying to

California is trying to outlaw Home Schooling. They are tired of being embarrassed by smart home schooled kids.

nh1956
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nh1956 04/05/08 - 11:38 am
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From all of the comments that

From all of the comments that have been posted so far, it seems that the majority of you believe that all children who attend publice school are only there for the "fashion show". My two children have always attended public schools and they are and have always been at the top of their class. They were dressed nice but I do not spend 200.00 on a pair of shoes just because they want them. If parents are involved with their education, children will always excel, no matter where they go to school. And by the way , I am proud of my kids. That is one thing that is wrong with the public schools now, the bad kids always get in the news. Lets' recognize the good for a change.

thisreallysucks
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thisreallysucks 04/05/08 - 02:41 pm
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nh1956 obviously is a caring

nh1956 obviously is a caring parent who works with their children to succeed. That is the point of all this; you have to invest time in your children for them to achieve anything more than a criminal record. I suspect that the troublemakers lacked parents who show hte requisite care. However, knowing that a fashion show consitutes a part of a basic education in an public school confirms the necessity to send children to private school no matter the cost. Public school administrators ought to be ashamed when test scores are abysmal and they are wasting education time on activities such as this! School should be tough because life surely is.

211lover
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211lover 04/05/08 - 11:48 pm
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I know a girl, her parents
Unpublished

I know a girl, her parents bought her the coolest cloths, and made sure she had the coolest cellphone, she got pregnant at 13, dropped out of school and is now a drug addict.

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