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!
A Novel Toilet Flushing System using Grey Water and Fresh Water
Mehaa Amirthalingam
2018 Finalist
Meet Mehaa. Mehaa developed a toilet flushing system that uses both fresh and recycled water to reduce water consumption in the home.
Low cost Archery Assistant with an Interface for the Visually Impaired
Sriram Bhimaraju
2018 Finalist
Meet Sriram. Sriram developed Archery Assistant, an app that improves an archer’s accuracy by correcting form in real-time using a Bluetooth sensor.
A Passion for Fashion and an Eye for Good Exercise
Reeny Botros
2013 Finalist
Meet Reeny. She has a passion for fashion as well as helping people. Couple that with her love of the challenge math and science bring and you get the makings of a fashion forward future doctor. Her Young Scientist Challenge entry illustrates how science can improve lives in many different ways – all while being a lot of fun in the process.
New Electrolyte Compound
Anish Chaluvadi
2013 Finalist
Meet Anish. He enjoys playing music to relax, but he also enjoys the thrill of overcoming a good challenge. That’s why he loves science and math. Science is one of the subjects he most enjoys because it’s hands-on and you get to experience it.
He aspires to be a biomedical engineer so he can make a career of overcoming tough challenges.
Improved Indoor Biomass Cook Stove
Daniel Culver
2013 Finalist
Meet Daniel. He believes that science improves the condition of the world. His innovative indoor biomass cook stove shows exactly how Daniel’s science acumen and inventive spirit could truly improve conditions for many people around the world for years to come.

In addition to improving the world through science, Daniel dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer or aviator so he can fly.
Pegasus - Hybrid Vehicle Charging System
Tim DeMember
2013 Finalist
Meet Tim. An aspiring mechanical engineer, it’s no wonder he enjoys building, creating and just plain figuring out how things work. The inspiration for his Young Scientist Challenge invention came from watching an index card attached to a bicycle frame – proving that science really is everywhere! Be open and stay curious…your next innovative idea could be right in front of you.
Smart Infrared Based ROV to Identify and Remove Microplastics from Marine Environments
Anna Du
2018 Finalist
Meet Anna. Anna created an underwater device that uses infrared light to detect harmful microplastics in the ocean.
Finsen Headphones: Treating Mid-Ear Infections Using Machine Learning and Phototherapy
Leanne Fan
2022 Winner
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.
Alginate Gel for Pulled Teeth
Julia Gelfond
2018 Finalist
Meet Julia. Julia’s innovative use of Alginate Gel helps to alleviate pain, infection and suffering of millions who get their teeth pulled each year.
SOS Save Our Silence: An Optical Approach to Controlling Digital Noise Cancellation
Zachary Hessler
2018 Finalist
Meet Zachary. Zachary developed a method using light technology to reduce noise pollution.
Publicly Available Databases Containing Biological Information
Katie Hudek
2013 Finalist
Meet Katie. When she’s not enjoying her many hobbies or excelling in her favorite subjects of science, math, and english, she is dreaming about being a surgeon so she can help people.

One look at her Young Scientist Challenge entry on Computational Biology and you’ll see why Katie will make a fine surgeon someday.
Textricity: Using Piezoelectric Plates to Harvest Electricity from Taps on a Cell Phone
Theodore Jiang
2018 Finalist
Meet Theodore. Theodore created a smartphone case that harvests energy from finger taps on the screen to charge the phone’s battery.
Camera Centering Tripod Mount
Srijay Kasturi
2013 Finalist
Meet Srijay. He understands the power of a good story and the fun of building things grounded in science. An aspiring filmmaker or computer science expert, Srijay’s interests blended perfectly with the 2013 Young Scientist Challenge. The skills he’s developed pursuing his hobbies served him well in creating his finalist winning video entry.
Green Energy Electricity from Grass Waste
Edward Kim
2013 Finalist
Meet Edward. He dreams of one day becoming a neurosurgeon, to fulfill his duty to contribute to society by finding cures for problems to end people’s suffering. Neurology is still somewhat of a mystery and one Edward would love to help solve.

You can thank his 8th grade teacher for encouraging him to enter the Young Scientist Challenge to share his idea to make electricity from grass waste through a fuel cell system. Economical and eco-friendly, his fuel cell system may just become a viable alternative energy source one day.
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).
iCUpooch - an interactive care unit for dogs
Brooke Martin
2013 Finalist
Meet Brooke. With a Utility Patent Application pending for her invention iCUpooch, an interactive care unit for dogs and the subject of her video submission entry for the Young Scientist Challenge, it’s no wonder she is one of the 2013 finalists.

Brooke is determined to pursue a career in science. She would like to do something where she can help to improve the lives of others, whether it's by finding cures for diseases, innovating new technology, or helping to solve crimes.
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.
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.
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. 
uFlu: Your Personalized Flu Vaccine
Cameron Sharma
2018 Finalist
Meet Cameron. Cameron created a computer model that calculates the seasonal flu vaccine using artificial intelligence (AI) and deep machine learning to identify personalized flue vaccines.
Steer Smart
Aishani Sil
2013 Finalist
Meet Aishani. She wants to be a scientist to contribute to future scientific discoveries that benefit mankind. And with her Young Scientist Challenge entry, she is already off to an impressive start.
She entered the Young Scientist Challenge to share her idea for Steer Smart, an application designed to reduce texting and driving, and hopes the application will motivate drivers to put away their phones, focus on the road ahead, and save thousands of lives in the process.
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.
A Potential Cure to Huntington's Disease
Krish Wadhwani
2018 Finalist
Meet Krish. Krish hopes to cure Huntington’s Disease through an injectable medication using Synthetic Antibody Mimics (SyAMs) to locate and attach to a specific protein found on the surface of cancer cells to ultimately eliminate Huntington’s disease.
Technology that is Optimizing and Controlling Aircraft Wing Shape and Efficiency In-Flight Through Novel Polymer Artificial Muscle Actuators
Leo Wylonis
2018 Finalist
Meet Leo. Leo hopes to reduce high altitude aircraft carbon emissions through his innovative design and use of polymer artificial muscles better known as PAM actuators.
The Automated Car Garden
Austin Ewing
2022 Honorable Mention
My project is a replica of an automated car garden. I used a Greenhouse Kit, BBC MicroBit and a Sphero-RVR rover. I programed the vehicle to travel to different colored squares, which would represent different zip codes in food desert communities. The vehicle would deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to these communities, minimizing food disparities.
Tracking Parkinson's Symptoms and Stages with HandPD Dataset in a Mobile App
Isha Joshi
2022 Honorable Mention
My project tracks and shows the progress of a Parkinson's patient in an app using the HandPD dataset with a VGG16 transfer learning model prototype.
Piezoelectric Roads
Delisha Manuel
2022 Honorable Mention
In this project, I studied the possibility of harvesting the mechanical force of the vehicles on the road as a form of clean energy. According to Newton’s Third Law, the vehicles move forward by pushing back on the road. If the road is fitted with equipment that can convert this mechanical force into electrical energy, then it will result in a form of abundant clean energy.

Piezoelectricity is a phenomenon that converts mechanical stress into electrical force. When some materials like quarts are subjected to mechanical stress, they exhibit an electrical polarity across their two ends. When this voltage difference is applied to a circuit, an electrical current flows through it.

I conducted experiments to measure the relationship between the mechanical force and the generated electrical voltage using a toy car and a piezoelectric tile. I varied the load on the car and its speed and measured the resulting force using a spring balance. I made the car run over the piezoelectric tile and measured the generated voltage using a multimeter.

From my experiments, I found that the greater the force applied on a piezoelectric tile, the more the voltage generated. This is very useful because speeding vehicles exert a great deal of force on the road. If piezoelectric materials are embedded under the road surface, they can generate a very large amount of electrical energy.

Therefore, this project helped discover a new source of clean energy.
Low carbon mat comprises packaging waste materials
Pratyush Sathish Kumar
2022 Honorable Mention
Using neglected cardboard boxes, I mixed cardboard with silicone to make a final rubber floor mat and heat insulating pad