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News India Times
April 22, 2016
– that’s all you need to know
people with 93 percent accura-
cy. Yashaswini’s biometric
research, which got her recog-
nized as part of the 2016 Intel
Science Talent Search, may lead
to greater personalization of
mobile devices.
Middle-School Coder Develops Tool
to Help Teach the Periodic Table to
the Visually Impaired
Hari Bhimaraju, a 12-year old
Kennedy Middle School student
from Cupertino, California, used
a Raspberry Pi and Arduino to
design the hardware and soft-
ware for “The Elementor”, a
portable, low-cost teaching tool
to help visually impaired stu-
dents learn the periodic table of
elements. When a user enters an
element’s symbol with either a
regular or a Braille keyboard,
pictures and animations show a
model for an atom of the ele-
ment, along with light-up LEDs
and sound beeps to describe the
positions of the element’s elec-
trons. The system, which is now
available for purchase, also uses
a simulated Geiger counter to
provide information about
radioactivity, and a voice gener-
ation feature speaks all details
out loud. In addition to winning
the 1st Place Award in
Technology at the 2015
BroadcomMASTERS competi-
tion, two schools for the blind
have reviewed the tool’s useful-
ness and are in the process of
having their students use it.
Teen Tackles Early Cancer Detection
Neil Davey, 20, of
Gaithersburg, Maryland, took
on the study of cancer for his
International BioGENEius
Challenge project. Neil’s goal
was to detect cancer early, when
there are often more treatment
options and better outcomes for
cancer patients. His technique
uses a combination of drop-
based microfluidics and poly-
merase chain reaction (PCR) to
detect circulating tumor cell
(CTC) genes, which are shed by
tumors and enter the blood
stream. In addition to improv-
ing early cancer detection, Neil’s
solution provides the genomic
details of the cancer, giving the
treating doctor insights into the
patients’ cancer that can enable
for more-targeted “precision
medicine” treatments.
Las Vegas Middle School Team Takes
on Sustainable City Design
Las Vegas, Nevada students
Krishna Patel, 12, and Isha Shah,
13, and Sidney Lin, 13, over-
came the obstacle of losing their
original teacher and mentor to
compete at the Future City
National competition. These
Hyde Park Middle School stu-
dents created a sustainable,
waste-free, municipal city, win-
ning Team Kilau Most
Sustainable Buildings and City
of the Future that Best
Incorporates Cultural and
Historical Resources.
The Unbotable Robotics Team
W.P. Davidson High School,
represented by Rupa Palanki,
17, Jacob Bosarge, 17, Nolan
Lenard, 16, has become one of
the best of the BEST in
Alabama, winning 1st Place
Overall BEST Award in the
Jubilee BEST Robotics
Competition and 2nd Place
Overall BEST Award in the
South’s BEST Regional
Davidson’s team the highest-
ranking team in Alabama. The
history of this rise of the school
began in 2004, when, as a strug-
gling Mobile County, Alabama,
school trying to find its identity
in the science, technology, engi-
neering and math (STEM)
world, theW.P. Davidson faculty
and students decided to take a
leap of faith and participate in
the BEST Robotics program,
drumming up community sup-
port. Now, in 2016, it is home to
the largest K-12 engineering
program in the state of
Preventing Future Kidney Failure
18-year-old Sanjana Rane,
from Prospect, Kentucky, has
helped discover how a particu-
lar protein could be used to
detect and treat renal fibrosis.
Her discovery helps to prevent
renal fibrosis from developing
into end-stage renal disease, an
incurable total failure of the kid-
neys. After reading a study rank-
ing Louisville, her hometown, as
having some of the worst air
quality in the United States, she
began to look into the dangers
of air pollution and learned
about the chemical acrolein,
which is found in both cigarette
and industrial smoke and can
cause kidney damage. As
Sanjana delved into her
research, she began to focus on
how to shift acrolein’s influence
on the kidneys by using a par-
ticular protein as a therapeutic
target. This novel approach won
Sanjana a scholarship at the
Siemens Competition in Math,
Science & Technology. She
would like in the future to prac-
tice regenerative medicine to
explore how to use stem cells to
treat diseases like cancer, multi-
ple sclerosis, and ALS.
Sea Dirty Water? Wave Goodbye
Every summer Deepika
Kurup, 18, and her family travel
from their home in Nashua,
New Hampshire, to India.
Always privileged in the U.S. to
have unlimited access to
potable water, she saw Indian
children drink water that she
felt was too dirty to touch.
Delving deeper, she learned
that the world is facing a global
water crisis and that, according
to theWorld Health
Organization, one-ninth of the
global population lacks access
to clean water. This unaccept-
able social injustice compelled
her to find a solution—a solar-
powered technology that uses
silver and other materials to
rapidly remove bacteria from
water. Her innovation made her
a finalist in the 2015 Google
Science Fair and a winner of the
National Geographic Explorer
Award. Deepika hopes to use
her creation to provide cleaner
drinking water to families in
India and around the world.
Teen Builds on Personal Experience
to Develop Vaccine Transporter
When Anurudh Ganesan,
now 16, was an infant, his
grandparents walked him 10
miles to a remote clinic in India
in order to receive a vaccina-
tion. When they arrived, the
vaccines were ineffective due to
the high temperatures and lack
of refrigera-
tion. Although Anurudh was for-
tunate and ultimately received
the vaccination, others are not.
He learned that, according to
UNICEF, 1.5 million children die
every year as a result of not get-
ting the safe and effective vac-
cines that they so desperately
need. He also discovered that
ice packs used to transport vac-
cines can freeze the vaccines,
rendering them ineffective. This
inspired Anurudh, who now
lives in Clarksburg, Maryland, to
explore a better method of
refrigerating vaccines immedi-
ately prior to use, particularly in
developing countries. His cre-
ation, VAXXWAGON, can effec-
tively transport vaccines in the
last leg of distribution without
the use of ice and electricity,
saving potentially thousands of
lives throughout the world.
Anurudh’s project earned him
the 2015 Google Science Fair
LEGO Education Builder Award.
Coders Provide Supportive
Community for LGBTQ Peers
Navigating gender identity,
sexual orientation, and roman-
tic orientation can be an isolat-
ing and difficult journey, partic-
ularly for high-school students.
To create a more positive and
welcoming environment, a
group of teen programmers cre-
ated Spectrum, an Android app
that aims to provide a social-
media network for the
LGBTQIA+ community, espe-
cially younger users looking for
a safe support system. Receiving
recognition as Google Made
with Code Mentors to inspire
more girls to code, the app was
imagined and designed by the
team of San Diego, California,
teens Bansi Parekh, 17, and four
team-mates Siobhan Garry, 17,
Mona Fariborzi, 17, Lauren
Mori, 17, , and McKenna Stamp,
This Team Is (Intentionally Not) On
Team FireArmor is one of the
five winners of the 2015 Conrad
Spirit of Innovation Challenge,
an honor bestowed upon a
team of high-school inventors
and entrepreneurs.
FireArmor is an innovative
protective apparel designed to
protect firefighters or anyone
who faces extreme tempera-
tures. It was created by then
Centreville, Virginia, and
Gahanna, Ohio teammembers,
VarunVallabhaneni, 17,
Savannah Cofer, 18, Valerie
Chen, 18, Matthew Sun, 17.
Composed of an inorganic,
endothermic fiber that absorbs
heat from its environment and
keeps the firefighter safe even at
dangerously high temperatures,
FireArmor keeps the firefighter
safe even above 1000 degrees
Celsius and provides up to five
minutes of protection in flash
fire conditions, in contrast to
current firefighter turnout gear
which rapidly degrades above
300 degrees Celsius and pro-
vides less than six seconds of
protection in flash fire condi-
Vallabhaneni and the team
were inspired to create
FireArmor two years ago, when
19 Arizona firefighters were sur-
rounded and killed during a
flash fire.
The Breathtaking Device That Cuts
Costs but Not Quality
Maya Varma, a 17-year-old
from San Jose, California, was
astounded at the price of diag-
nostic spirometers—the
machines used to analyze lung
health by having patients blow
into them.
The devices typically cost
hundreds of dollars, so Maya
Varma developed a 3D printed
version, that costs a mere $35.
Maya used her knowledge of 3D
printing, electrical engineering,
and computer science, along
with data of lung capacity and
flow rate, to build the device,
which can currently diagnose
chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (COPD), asthma,
emphysema, chronic bronchitis,
and restrictive lung disease with
remarkable accuracy.
The Electronics Aquarium
tubing connects the spirometer
to a pressure sensor that con-
verts the pressure change to
An Arduino microcontroller
sends the voltage data to an
Android app. The Spirometer
Varma’s system uses a 3D-print-
ed Lilly pneumotachometer, a
spirometer that calculates flow
by measuring the pressure
change across a mesh when you
blow into it.
Maya’s (literally) breathtaking
invention earned her a slot as a
2016 Intel STS finalist, where
her spirometer was selected as
one of the top 40 projects in the
All The President’s Scientists
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