Finsen Headphones: Treating Mid-Ear Infections Using Machine Learning and Phototherapy
Leanne Fan
San Diego, California
2022 Winner
Mesa Verde Middle School
8375 Entreken Way
San Diego, CA 92129-4405
8th grade | 14 years old
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.
Why did you enter the Young Scientist Challenge?
I believe that the Young Scientist Challenge is an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will allow me to dive deep into the depths of my project and make my Finsen Headphones the absolute best they can be. I would love to meet other young innovators and learn all about how they are also achieving their dreams.
What is your favorite invention of the last 100 years, and why?
My favorite invention is Phototherapy. Phototherapy has been overshadowed for decades due to the popularity and ease of use of antibiotics. In 1893, Niels Finsen found that the lengthy exposure of smallpox sufferers to the red light formed by exclusion of the violet end of the spectrum in sunlight prevents the pus formation of pockmarks. Finsen won the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1903 for his work on phototherapy. Phototherapy is also commonly used for eczema and acne, and is a non medicinal way of killing bacteria and treating diseases. It is very versatile and has endless possibilities, and inspired me to start my project.
In 15 years I hope to be...
The founder of a biomedical device company. I want to be able to provide affordable and accessible medical devices to people that need them.
Always try to be a better self!
Leanne Fan