The Popcorn Stand: Youth and their gadgets |

The Popcorn Stand: Youth and their gadgets

Those who choose to read this Popcorn Stand have likely noticed this old fuddy, duddy’s disparaging of our youth and Millennials in the past. And again I must clarify, I don’t view most people under the age of 35 (is that the cutoff for Millennials now) as being Millennials.

Most people under the age of 35 I find to be just fine. But everyone once in while I’ll run into a twenty-something who drives me crazy and I’ll mutter “Millennials” as I walk away.

But after reading the stories about the local high school and middle school students with their robotics World Championship this and LEGO championship that, I must admit I’m reassured and a little jealous at the same time. The closest I ever came to building a robot when I was a kid was watching “Inspector Gadget.”

Well now 12 junior and senior girls at San Fernando High School in California have inspired me as they have developed a solar-powered, portable shelter to help the homeless. It seems like such a simple idea as their structure is just a tent, but the girls did think of everything from insulated fabric and solar panels to a safety locking system and a UV system to sanitize the tent. The safety locking system is obviously important for security reasons.

While the tent holds up to three people, its practical use would be for one person, maybe two people at the most.

But of course there are a lot more homeless people in cities than their homeless shelters can house. I can see cities using these shelters somehow to alleviate that problem.

Apparently I’m not the only person to be inspired by this story. The girls have been invited to MIT in June to showcase their invention. They needed $15,000 for the trip and set up a GoFundMe page. More than $16,000 was donated.

Maybe I should have spent less time watching “Inspector Gadget,” but as Inspector Gadget would say, these girls and many of our youth, including a lot of our local youth, really know how to “Go, Go.”

— Charles Whisnand