Tristan Bissoondial, a 6-year-old Bellmore resident, is afflicted with Köhler disease. The rare childhood disorder causes a bone in the child’s foot to temporarily lose blood supply, causing pain and swelling in the middle of the foot.
But Tristan and his older brother, Tyler, 8, worked for months to theorize a design for a shoe that would help alleviate his and other children’s pain. Their work earned them recognition in one of the largest student science competitions in the United States and Canada.
The Bissoondial brothers received honorable mention in the 2014 ExploraVision contest, sponsored by Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association. Dr. Terrence Bissoondial, their father and mentor, said he is proud of his sons’ accomplishment.
Since it began in 1992, more than 330,000 students from across the United States and Canada have taken part in the ExploraVision competition, according to its website. Terrence said the contest challenges students to work in teams and design innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years.
Of the thousands of team projects, 500 –– about 10 percent –– receive honorable mention nods, while 24 were named regional winners. The Bissondials’ project, called “The SMAART Shoes: They Fit, Detect and Protect,” was one of only two teams from New York in the kindergarten to third-grade division to receive an honorable mention.
In addition to their father, the Bissoondials worked with Bellmore School District teachers. Elissa Doppelt, Tyler’s third-grade teacher at the Winthrop Avenue School, served as the boys’ coach for the ExploraVision competition. Tristan just began school in the district, as he is a student in Jennifer Magliano’s kindergarten class at the Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center.
The students worked on their project for six months, envisioning shoes that could detect stress and abnormal changes in the feet. They researched and described shoes that could adapt to reduce stress or the progression of diseases associated with feet.