Annual Challenge

Challenge Participants

The 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge Finalists, State Merit Winners, and Honorable Mentions have been announced! Use the tabs below to check out their big ideas and explore all finalists, winners, mentors, and judges!
Finsen Headphones: Treating Mid-Ear Infections Using Machine Learning and Phototherapy
Leanne Fan
2022 Finalist
Every year, there are 700 million cases of mid-ear infections (Otitis Media) and nearly 21,000 deaths worldwide. Many of those impacted are children and underprivileged populations. Without medical access and or healthcare, diagnosis and treatment of mid-ear infections are often difficult. Leanne’s invention, Finsen Headphones, provides a low-cost option to detect and treat a mid-ear infection using machine learning and blue light therapy – potentially preventing up to 60% of hearing loss in children.
The Helping Hand
Peter Finch
2015 Finalist
Meet Peter. Peter believes his invention, The Helping Hand, will prevent many accidents caused by senior citizens falling on the stairs. Meant to maximize the use of arm strength, The Helping Hand reduces the impact on joints like the hands and knees. Although there are electric chairs on the market to help navigate the stairs, Peter believes his invention provides a portable, efficient and less expensive alternative for senior citizens.
Reducing CO2 emissions from cargo ships
Arthur Frigo, III
2015 Finalist
Meet Arthur. In one of many endeavors to learn more about science, Arthur hopes the Young Scientist Challenge will help feed his never-ending curiosity of science. With an interest in preventing some of the global issues faced today, Arthur's invention aims to reduce the CO2 emissions that cargo ships release daily. Arthur hopes to improve the environmental and human health problems by reducing cargo ship emissions, using wind power and a helium-filled parachute to propel cargo ships to their final destinations.
A Wireless, Wearable and Customizable Electronic Solution to Predict and Prevent Autistic Meltdowns.
Raghav Ganesh
2015 Finalist
Meet Raghav. To help those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and their caregivers, Raghav's invention predicts and prevents Autistic Meltdowns. Monitoring physiological and environmental factors that can cause and trigger stress, Raghav's wireless and wearable machine alerts the wearer and caregiver when any stressors rise above a certain threshold.

His invention allows care to be tailored to individuals' needs by recording all sensory data and therapeutic responses. Raghav hopes his invention can help many people in daily situations, catering to the Autistic population and their caregivers.
Using Brainwave Patterns to Create Biofeedback Tools
Amulya Garimella
2015 Finalist
Meet Amulya. With a love for both filmmaking and science, the Young Scientist Challenge was the perfect opportunity for Amulya to showcase her talents. With a goal of preventing distractions while trying to concentrate, Amulya invented a distraction monitoring system that alerts the user of distraction by measuring EEG brainwaves. When users get distracted, they will receive an alert reminding them to concentrate and get back to work. Amulya hopes that being distracted while doing homework or working will be a thing of the past!
Mitigating Allergies with Nanoparticles
Iris Gupta
2015 Finalist
Meet Iris. Iris wants to stop allergies at the source. She believes that by inhaling or injecting nanoparticles, allergens' ability to attach to antibodies present in our bodies would be blocked as they entered our systems. Iris believes too many people suffer from allergies, and by testing to find the correct amount of nanoparticles optimal for blocking allergens, her invention aims to give them some much needed relief. Iris' favorite invention in the last 100 years is the Internet, because it makes research and access to information quick and easy.
A Novel MoS2 Electrode for Enhancing Electrochemical Hydrogen Production
John Lee
2022 Finalist
Hydrogen (H2) can improve energy consumption by producing an alternative energy source to carbon-based fuels. It has numerous benefits, such as high energy density and zero pollution. However, the current method to produce hydrogen in industries uses fossil fuels, producing carbon dioxide (CO2). Electrochemical hydrogen production can be a clean and efficient alternative to producing hydrogen, with water being the only byproduct. There are several considerations for electrochemical hydrogen production like cathode material, electrolytes, and applied voltage. In this research, metal electrodes (e.g., Zn, Cu, Al, Ni, Sn, and Fe) were tested as metal catalysts for electrochemical hydrogen production to determine optimum operational conditions (e.g., types and concentrations of electrolytes).
Circular Ion Accelerator
Alec Lessing
2015 Finalist
Meet Alec. Alec's invention of a circular ion accelerator aims to make entry into space easier by giving multiple energy charges to passing particles before they are ejected from a rocket into space. Current linear ion accelerators only pass charging capacitor plates once before the are released from the rocket and lost into space, but by creating a circular accelerator, Alec hopes this is no longer the case. Alec hopes to win the Young Scientist Challenge to further his circular accelerator prototype. With the world's population growing at an extreme rate, Alec believes entry into space is more important than ever.
OVision - The Automatic Assessment of Ovarian Cancer Features & Mesothelin Protein Overexpression from Histopathological Images using Deep Learning
Samaira Mehta
2022 Finalist
Ovarian cancer (OC) is the deadliest cancer of the female reproductive organs. 65% of ovarian cancer patients die each year in the United States alone. The best way to reduce that number is for doctors to develop a treatment plan that is specific to the patient and their condition. However, to provide patients with the best diagnosis, doctors need to accurately classify the OC subtypes: High-Grade Serous Carcinoma, Low-Grade Serous Carcinoma, Endometrioid Carcinoma, Mucinous Carcinoma, and Clear Cell Carcinoma. By simply looking at histopathological images, it is often difficult for pathologists to distinguish between the subtypes accurately. Samaira’s research project utilizes a Deep Learning Convolutional Neural Network, based on VGG-16, to classify ovarian cancer subtypes and detect whether mesothelin protein was overexpressed, based on histopathological images. Current platforms for uploading histopathological images and getting results on cancer types require a great deal of technical expertise. Aiming to change that, with this platform, any doctor can get access, and receive immediate, accurate results.
Video Analysis of Hand Tremor to aid in Telehealth
Sritej Padmanabhan
2022 Finalist
Hand tremor disorders are frequently misdiagnosed, due to a lack of accurate and reliable measurements outside of hospital lab settings. In addition, access to neurologists can be a challenge for rural populations. To address these challenges, Sritej created a Python code utilizing OpenCV and MediaPipe libraries to analyze computer vision measurements of hand movement from video capture. Based on his study, Sritej concluded that video analysis of hand tremors provides accurate and reliable measures and would potentially reduce tremor misdiagnosis, help remotely and effectively manage patient care, and aid in telehealth.
Car Temperature Sensor
Conner Pettit
2015 Finalist
Meet Conner. With soaring summer heat temperatures, Conner invented a device that measures temperature within a car and sends the information to a mobile device. Car temperatures can become much hotter than outside temperatures due to the car's ability to trap heat, and Conner's invention allows the user to know when the car is reaching dangerously hot temperatures. Conner's favorite invention in the last 100 years is the phonograph, which lead the way for the developments of recording and reproducing sound technology.
ASD Screener - Early Risk Assessment of Autism Spectrum disorder using Machine Learning
Amritha Praveen
2022 Finalist
Autism is one of the most common developmental disabilities that impact social and communication skills. While there is no cure, intensive early intervention can make a big difference in the quality of life for many children. Although it varies between individuals, the gut microbiome has helped successfully predict illnesses. Since microbiome data is high dimensional and non-linear, Amritha researched various feature reduction algorithms to develop an intelligent model that would be efficient and help in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) prediction with more accuracy. This model can help physicians diagnose ASD at an early age using gut microbiome data from fecal samples. This model will also allow researchers to quickly and accurately detect microbial signatures that can serve as biomarkers of ASD risk.
DUI Detection Using the Pupillary Reflex
Krishna Reddy
2015 Finalist
Meet Krishna. Struck with a great idea, Krishna decided the Young Scientist Challenge was a great way to demonstrate his invention to a large audience. While a breathalyzer for alcohol consumption exists, Krishna felt that there was need for a device that could detect more. Unhappy with the inability for breathalyzer to detect other substances, Krishna created a pupillary reflex computer program and apparatus that measures pupil dilation. Many drugs influence the uncontrollable movement of pupil dilation, and by detecting drugs through dilation, Krishna hopes many more preventable accidents can be stopped.
Pura Aerem: Leveraging Catalytic Converters for Enhanced Filtering Efficacy
Shanza Sami
2022 Finalist
Air pollution is one of the greatest environmental risks to health. By reducing air pollution levels, countries can reduce the burden of diseases from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. Shanza Sami has developed a five-stage prototype with a diffuse filtration system, carbon nanotube (CNT) screening, electrolysis chamber, hydrogen fuel cells, and photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) technology. The carbon nanotube filtration system will be utilized to adhere to carbon dioxide through dynamic simulations. Additionally, water vapor will be utilized through an electrolysis chamber and hydrogen fuel cell to separate water vapor into breathable oxygen and hydrogen. Shanza hopes to use PECO technology to decompose volatile organic compounds that are dangerous to inhale. 
Reducing Flash Floods Using Optimal Drainage Pipe Sizes, Location and Elevation
Sanjana Shah
2015 Finalist
Meet Sanjana. After realizing the impacts of heaving rainfalls in unprepared areas, Sanjana created a program to detect where cities may need more drains and where they may need to increase current drain pipe sizes. By using pipe network analysis modeled after city drain pipe maps, Sanjana can simulate heavy rainfall to see where possible flooding may occur. Sanjana's favorite invention in the last 100 years is the Internet because it is a tool that allows for the searching, sharing and exchanging of information almost instantly. It can be used to connect globally, ranging from social media networks to aiding medical research across the world.
Soil Fungi Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Fights Climate Change using Artificial Intelligence and IOT
Sahasra Swargam
2022 Finalist
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas responsible for rising global temperatures and abrupt climate changes which threaten food production and ecological systems. Soils help manage climate change and contain two to three times more carbon than the atmosphere. A natural fertilizer, mycorrhizal fungi can increase carbon storage by improving the productivity of crops and vegetation. Using Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), Saharsa created a method to analyze the soil used for crops that can help predict early crop growth and disease detection. Her solution utilizes three soil moisture sensors, a PH sensor, and a temperature sensor to monitor different soil conditions for plant growth. Using regenerative agricultural practices with eco-friendly AMF (soil-borne fungi) can promote a natural method of capturing carbon dioxide in a cost-effective way of removing CO2 from the atmosphere, which helps in carbon sequestration.
Piezoelectric Power Generation from Automotive Tires
Asvini Thivakaran
2022 Finalist
Global warming, climate change, and air pollution are some of the most prevalent global issues of today. High levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere create concern for the health of our environment. The transportation sector is the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, many of which come from passenger cars. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars, the use of electric vehicles needs to grow, but the drawback for many is the limited power of electric vehicle use. To help solve this issue, Asvini invented a way to generate clean power while driving to increase the distance an electric vehicle can travel before needing to be charged. Asvini’s invention uses piezo material on automotive tires to generate clean, environmentally friendly power that will recharge a car while driving. She hopes her invention will attract more people to buy electric vehicles and help reduce the carbon footprint associated with driving.
A Novel Dosing Pump to Prevent Clogs and Organic Overgrowth In AC Condensate Lines
Daniel Thomas
2022 Finalist
Air conditioner condensate drain lines can clog every six to 12 months, costing millions in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) service calls and property damages. This issue can also cause severe health problems for the elderly and asthmatics due to organic overgrowths such as mold and Legionella bacteria. To address this issue, Daniel developed a solution using diluted chlorine to prevent overgrowth, a peristaltic pump, and an ESP8266 Wi-Fi programmer to time the dispensary of the chlorine. Daniel hopes his technique will produce fewer clogs and organic overgrowth in AC condensate lines, which will save homeowners and business money and reduce exposure to dangerous mold and bacteria.
The Comptometrist: An Efficient Way to Determine Myopic Power
Harini Venkatesh
2022 Finalist
The calculation of eye power can be slow and error-prone. On average, it takes nearly an hour to complete an eye examination which can open a window for error. Every year, more than 2.8 million people find significant issues with their optical prescription. To address this issue, Harini developed The Comptometrist, a prototype designed to cut down the time needed to determine myopic power in a patient’s eyes. Harini’s prototype would eliminate crowding in clinics, report accurate measures of myopic power in seconds, and closes the window of error in the eye examination process.