Student develops bike helmets, wins regional science fair

This is the second win for Granite Bay Montessori eighth grader
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Eighth grader Michael Binon loves bicycling and understands firsthand the need for safe equipment when riding. “He is never one to take things at face value and always wants to know the why, how and can you make it better,” said dad Paul Binon, in a press release. His son turned this interest into a project called “Having a Hard Head Won’t Save You,” in an effort to test various combinations of materials to develop a safer bicycling and motorcycling helmet. This Granite Bay Montessori student won first place in the engineering division for his project in the Sacramento Regional Science and Engineering Fair held March 19 and 20. This is Michael’s second first-place win — he previously won in 2009. At that time, he advanced to the California State Science Fair where he earned a second-place award in the electronic engineering division, said his science teacher Brian Lloyd. In an effort to create a helmet that would absorb the greatest amount of impact energy and protects the brain from concussions, Michael combined fiberglass, carbon fibers and a variety of shock absorbing materials in the shape of helmets, which were tested at a Snell Memorial Foundation facility. This foundation independently tests and certifies helmets. He moves on to the California state competition in May. Two years ago, Michael won first place for a project that involved developing and testing portable emergency broadcast antenna. “Michael was quite involved at that time with (Citizens’ Band) radio and emergency broadcasting equipment needed in the event of regional catastrophes,” said Paul Binon in the release. “He is also a Boy Scout and is very aware of the need to be prepared in case of national emergencies.” Also during this year’s regional science fair, Christina Soltero earned third place in the math and computer science category for her project to develop a microprocessor-controlled non-contact musical instrument. A musician plays the instrument by moving her hands near the device without actually touching it. Madeline Frey received a special award from the American Public Works Association for her project on reinforced truss bridges. ~ Sena Christian