|Official School District Press Release|
Message #5 Posted by Ben Salinas on 9 Sept 2003, 8:32 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Ben Salinas
SCIENCE ACADEMY STUDENT WINS NATIONWIDE HEWLETT PACKARD/SCHOLASTIC CREATE-A-CALCULATOR CONTEST
Hewlett Packard executives to hold local award ceremony on September 18
MERCEDES – Sixteen-year-old Ben Salinas of McAllen won the first annual “Create-A-Calculator” contest sponsored by Hewlett Packard (HP) calculators and Scholastic magazine. The nationwide contest, which closed in May 2003, was an effort to get students and teachers involved in creating the next version of an HP calculator.
Salinas, a junior at The Science Academy of South Texas in Mercedes, won the 9-12 grade category with his design of the HP-51S scientific calculator. As the first place winner, he will receive a $3,000 scholarship for him to use as he sees fit and a pre-launch edition of the hp 49g+ graphing calculator scheduled for release in stores on October 6 at a suggested retail price of $175.99.
Hewlett Packard’s Director of Worldwide Product Development Tony Jones and Director of Worldwide Marketing Lee-Khuan Goh will present him with the scholarship check and calculator on Thursday, September 18 at 9 a.m. at Biblioteca Las Americas library, located in Mercedes off Expressway 83 and Mile 2 West Road.
The good news was not too surprising to Salinas, who was the top winner out of 6,000 entries.
“I felt that I had made a good product, and I thought I would have a chance to win once the engineers took a look at my entry,” Salinas said. “All of my features were realistic and possible to make. It’s a real calculator.”
The HP-51S was Salinas’ ideal calculator, which combines the best features of different calculators into one instrument. Many of the device’s features are the same as his HP-32II scientific calculator, but with a number of innovative features, upgrades and functions.
“I put things that have never been on calculators before, like the blue backlit LCD screen on mobile phones that you find,” he said.
Other practical features that Salinas included in his calculator were a glow-in-the-dark keyboard, USB and IR ports as well as more memory and programmability.
The probable engineering major also added several impressive functions to the HP-51S, such as:
• Psuedo-graphing, which allows the scientific calculator to graph in a way more accurate than a graphing calculator;
• Total base conversion and operation, something that has never been on a calculator before even though users such as computer scientists and electrical engineers frequently need it;
• SigFigs, which helps users preserve accuracy on sophisticated measuring calculations;
• Unit conversion, something that is on graphing calculators but not on scientific calculators; and
• RPN, which allows users to get intermediate answers during long equations.
For the Create-A-Calculator contest, Salinas submitted a professionally compiled binder to Hewlett Packard that contained thorough and detailed information on the HP-51S calculator.
Hewlett Packard Calculators General Manager Fred Valdez said the company was very impressed with both Salinas’ intelligence and practicality of design.
“Ben worked off a solid basis of information and familiarity with our high-end scientific calculator, which is a major achievement for someone of his age and experience,” Valdez said. “He enhanced this with what he recognized to be the needs of like-minded students and professionals to create a perfectly viable design.”
Valdez continued: “Ben had tough competition, as we received more than 6,000 entries by May 15 (the closing date for entries), and the entries were still flooding in. He was a clear entry in his age category.”
The self-starter actually learned about the contest on his own through the Internet. According to Mark Schroll, Engineering, Designing and Development teacher at The Science Academy, Salinas approached him a week before the contest deadline and asked him to be his sponsor for the contest.
“Ben had already put his binder together. He just wanted my input and my approval,” Schroll said. “Ben put together an exceptional project.”
Salinas credits The Science Academy, a public school for students who wish to explore the career fields of math, science, architecture and engineering, for teaching him the skills he needed to develop his calculator. Some of his documents are written in Java, a computer programming language, and his calculator is drawn in AutoDesk Inventor, an engineering design software.
“Everything that’s contained in this binder has been what I have learned from this school,”Salinas said.
This particular student also keeps his mind intellectually charged by participating in University Interscholastic League (UIL) competitions in Math, Science, Calculator, Number Sense and Computer Science divisions.
There were two other winners in the Create-A-Calculator Contest. In the K-5 grade category, Michelle Klutcharch of Glen Oaks Elementary School in Glen Oaks, Illinois won a $1,000 scholarship award and hp 9g graphing calculator. In the 6-8 grade category, Zlatko Minev of Kent Middle School in Kentfield, California won a $2,000 scholarship award and hp 9g graphing calculator.
# # #
Editor’s Note: Digital image of Salinas and HP-51S calculator available. Ben Salinas is an amazingly bright, well-mannered and articulate young man who is available for interviews.