Meet six remarkable Colorado tweens and teens who are making a positive impact in their community.
A Push for Safer Water
Gitanjali Rao, 12, Lone Tree
“I heard about the Flint water crisis, and it was appalling to me,” says 12-year-old Gitanjali Rao (pictured above). While the rest of us were wishing for better, this eighth grader took action, inventing a device that would help protect families, should a similar catastrophe happen again.
“I wanted to create something affordable that could be used worldwide,” Gitanjali explains. But first, there was one little obstacle to overcome. “I didn’t know anything about this stuff when I first started!” she says.
Determined to make lead detection easier, Gitanjali buried herself in research, exchanging hundreds of emails with a slew of scientists and professionals. “From each expert, I got one piece of the puzzle, and eventually I put that puzzle together,” says Gitanjali.
She learned that nanotechnology is used to detect harmful chemicals in the air. Applying the principle to lead, Gitanjali created an easy-to-use, inexpensive device that detects lead contamination in water with carbon nanotube technology.
“The device includes a disposable cartridge that you dip into water, and then it measures lead content using a microprocessor,” she says. That microprocessor sends data to a smartphone app Gitanjali created, generating clear results almost immediately. “Ideally, we should all be testing our water twice a month,” Gitanjali notes.
Still in its research and development phase, Gitanjali’s device currently costs $20 to produce. “If manufactured for mass production, it would […]