Anna - Mining Marine Microplastics - My 3M Adventure



My journey this summer with my invention has come a long way. I started with a machine that barely worked to something that can actually identify where the microplastics are in any given sample. The best part of the whole process was seeing my machine actively finding the microplastics in the ocean. I enjoyed learning a lot about how everything works, from the devastating impact on what plastics have in the ocean, to how people are trying to solve this problem how big of an impact plastics have in the ocean, to how people are trying to clean up plastics in the ocean.


One of my favorite parts of this entire project was finding out how to fix all of the wiring issues with my control box, and being able to fix it. If I could go through this entire experience again, I would change some things to work even better. I would make my infrared machine more modular so I can add more types of LEDs for different purposes, and expand the spectrum by using a chip that can look into 1000 - 3000 nm of infrared. Though these are hard to find, I could've sourced one to see if it would've worked better, because that range seems to be better at identifying plastics than visible through 1000nm. Next time, I would also make all the systems more automated, by making the picture taking and image processing fully integrated.


Now, it is getting closer to the final event. This makes me feel very excited, and nervous about what's about to happen, and what in store for me at the final competition. I hope that I learn a lot from all of the challenges I am going to do and seeing what other people have done with their projects.