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Hawaii High School Student Wins Top Honors In Competition

March 27, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Davin Wong, a high school senior from Hawaii who has an angle on inventiveness, won top honors in a national science scholarship competition, organizers announced Friday.

Wong won the $10,000 top prize in the Fifth Annual Duracell Scholarship Competition for inventing a digital protractor that measures the angles of objects placed on it.

″I wanted to invent some kind of tool,″ said Wong in an interview. ″I looked around and found that about everything else was already electronic.″

One item that had not been modernized was the old tried-and-true protractor, used by millions of students and professionals in its traditional plastic or metal incarnations.

The battery-powered device has a digital display that tells the angle between the base of the instrument and its moveable arm. The invention also shows the relationship between degrees of an angle and the portion of a circle they represent, useful in doing trigonometry problems.

″People here are saying I should apply for a patent on it, so I guess I’ll look into that,″ said the 17-year-old student at Honolulu’s Iolani School who plans to study electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology next school year.

More than 900 entries of battery-powered inventions were submitted to the National Science Teachers Association, which administers the contest supported by Duracell U.S.A., of Bethel, Conn.

The six top finalists, accompanied by their parents and science teachers, came to Washington for judging by a panel of scientists and science teachers.

The other five winners, who will receive $3,000 scholarships, had inventions that included an automatic dice roller, a solar-activated venetian blind closer and a computer that synthesizes and interprets speech.

The second-place winners are David Broyles, Chesapeake, Va.; Cuong Dang, Clarksburg, W.V.; Andrew Min, Demarest, N.J.; Edward Ouellette III, Flint, Mich.; and Mark Brad Yeary, Krum, Tex.

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