Blake’s journey started when he bought a tablet screen protector for his tablet at the Microsoft store. Microsoft said they were developing a self-healing screen protector. At first he thought this was impossible and that nothing could be self-healing. When he did research on the subject, there was only one website that had information.
This website was an article written by Key and Windy from the University of Illinois. He contacted them and they said they would be able to send him samples of the polymer. What they actually sent him was representation of the healing process; they were capsules that held wintergreen oil and red dye. Then they told him they couldn’t send him the samples because individuals aren’t allowed to have access to the polymer.
This was the first bump in the road of his journey. He was once was told that great people never only tried once. So he tried to extend his reach to out of the United States. He contacted Superpolix BV in the Netherlands who told him they couldn’t help him, but they told him that other companies could help. The other companies’ information was proprietary and he had trouble finding the companies. After days of research; he contacted Bayer Material Science in Germany and they also told him that he couldn’t obtain a before market product. He had to adapt to the new changes that happened because he couldn’t do his original project with the polymer. He decided to test an aftermarket product instead.
He spent over 300 hours looking through a microscope watching the molecules heal in slow motion. During his research, he also learned that there are three different polymers being manufactured. The first is capsular which has a capsule that has a polymer on one side and a catalyst on the other side. The only way they will mix is if the capsule breaks. The next type is vascular which is based off of the human circulatory system. This is an improvement on the capsular because the capsular could only heal once while the vascular can heal multiple times. The Intrinsic is the new polymer but it has no information on it.
After all of his experimenting he went on to competitions. He won first in his category and the grand award best in fair. The best in fair allowed him to go to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Then he competed in state and the Orlando Science Center STEM competition. At ISEF he had an amazing time. Over 70 different countries were represented and he was privileged to represent not just Florida but the whole United States. He met great people at a lot of places in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. We had student mixers and dances every night. All the people were helpful and all of them were the smartest young minds in the world. Since he was only 14 years old he was one of the youngest competitors ever to go to ISEF. He also met a lot of people from big corporations that will sponsor him next year. Those who never give up will find their way in life.