When he was in second grade, Burns built a mechanical leg to attach to his brother’s wheelchair. The leg — made of PVC, insulation tubing and duct tape — enabled him to successfully participate in a soccer program. Burns said, “It was very hard for him to kick…he was definitely struggling with it… I came up with the design after thinking about how he could improve at soccer,” he said.
As a fourth-grader, Burns spoke about the influence of science fairs on his life at the Annual Board of Directors’ Luncheon Meeting. Burns has won the Sarasota County Science Fair five times.
Due to his positive experiences in the science fair program, Burns is an avid supporter. “They help kids be able to get interested in science and they’re just really fun to do,” Burns said. He added that the fairs build experience for future competitions, increasing the chance of receiving a research grant at the high school level.
As a form of outreach, Burns plans to host science fair lessons at his former school, Venice Elementary School, and has already spoken to a classroom. He has also been invited to be a judge for Venice Elementary’s science fair this year. “I think it’s a pretty cool opportunity,” Burns said.
Last year, Burns built a Tesla coil for science fair. The Tesla coil allows electricity to be transferred wirelessly. “It was mainly fun getting to use such a high voltage,” he said.
About two months ago, after acquiring materials in part purchased with donations gathered from his website, Burns constructed a 3D printer. It was one of his most involved projects. “[It] definitely took the most time, money and effort,” Burns said. He currently uses it to makes prototypes for future endeavors.
In addition to building a computer, Burns’ future projects include fabricating an interactive robot, in the form of a life-sized head. “I think it’s interesting to see how computers interact with humans so I just wanted to see how far I could push that,” he said.
Burns is interested in a variety of scientific fields but expresses special interest in two: “I’m thinking of becoming a software developer or a quantum physicist,” he said.
Burns speaks of his motivation for pursuing new projects saying, “I just think it’s something cool that I want to do, so I figure out a way to do it.”