A middle school student proved that our future is in the hands of child prodigies. Gitanjali Rao is an 11-year-old girl with a passion for science. However, the situation in Flint, Michigan, where people don’t have access to clean drinking water appalled her. Instead of relying on grownups to solve the issue, Rao decided to do something by herself. This is how she invented a cheap lead detector and world acclamation.
Rao Turned to Official Sources of Information Online and Received Her Own Lab to Save the World
Besides documenting the Michigan water crisis from reliable sources, Rao also experienced the dismay when her parents tested the tap water in their own home. The seventh-grader lives in Lone Tree, Colorado. Her parents’ concerns made her understand that the market lacks a comprehensive testing solution. Instead, her parents found the results doubtful, sluggish or both.
“I had been following the Flint, Michigan, issue for about two years.”
Therefore, she got determined to find a modern solution for lead detection in water by herself. Her first stop was her sources of information to which she has been appealing for years, starting with MIT’s Materials Science and Engineering website. This is how she became familiar with latest technologies that can identify life-threatening substances.
She asked high schools and universities to give her lab time, while her engineer parents furnished a lab in their own home. Her solution is a device made of three parts. It contains a disposable container with carbon nanotube arrays that were chemically treated. It comes with an Arduino processor that sends Bluetooth signals. Afterward, the results are displayed through a smartphone app.
Rao’s Invention Is a Portable, Cheap Lead Detector that Connects to a Smartphone App
The lead detector works by diving it in water. If the liquid is not drinkable, the lead in the water will trigger resistance in the electron flow. The Arduino processor will intercept this reaction and send the information to the app.
The young inventor called her device ‘Tethys’ which is the Greek goddess that protects fresh water. The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge awarded Rao with the distinction of ‘America’s Top Young Scientist.’ The title also came with a $25,000 check.
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