Nathan "Nate" Ball's passion for invention was coursing through his veins long before he could define the word. He recalls digging up the family garden at two years old to build, wreck and rebuild mud dams and underground forts. In fourth grade he created a bottle-rocket launcher that shot two-liter bottles of water 100 feet skyward. This was followed by a hovercraft powered by a vacuum cleaner motor that he constructed in sixth grade, and in eighth grade, he was attempting to build a Tesla coil in his parent's garage by making capacitors out of glass bottles and aluminum foil.
Today, as the host of PBS's Emmy and Peabody award-winning series Design Squad and Design Squad Nation, Nate brings his passion for engineering and innovation to his TV show to help inspire young learners. Be at the Festival Expo in April to see his amazing performance!
Nate Ball isn't just any engineer: he's also an All-American pole vaulter, a musician, a nationally competitive beatboxer, and a co-inventor of the ATLAS Powered Ascender -- an actual version of Batman's grappling hook rescue system that he has developed with other lifesaving equipment at his startup company Atlas Devices. With live demos of real-life superhero gear and some of the best beatboxing in the country, Nate's show and the science behind it will rock your world!
What attracted him to engineering? ¨The constant challenge of solving cool problems,¨ Nate says emphatically. ¨I grew up building everything from hovercraft to rocket launchers, so, I've always loved learning about technology.¨
He earned his Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2007 and his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2005.
At age 24, he became the youngest winner of the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for his work on a new type of needle-free vaccine delivery device, and for his co-invention of the powered rope ascender, which his company now supplies to rescue groups in the U.S. Military.
To view other exciting speakers appearing in stage presentations at the Expo, click here.
Watch the preview video of the Nate Ball's stage show below: