11-Year-Old Just Developed New Sensor to Detect Lead in Tap Water

Photograph courtesy of 3M

Proving kids are awesome. She was just named “America’s Next Top Scientist.”

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which revealed the city’s drinking water contained dangerous amounts of lead, has caused many people to be concerned about the quality of tap water across the country. One of those people is 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao from Lone Tree, Colorado.

The difference between this seventh grader and most others, however, is that she decided to do something about it.

Rao is this year’s winner of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, and her winning idea is called the Tethys—a sensor-based device that can detect lead in water faster than other current techniques. (Fun fact: Tethys is the Greek goddess for water.)

Currently, people who want to test their water for lead contamination can either use lead-testing strips, which aren’t highly accurate, or send water to the EPA for testing, which is time consuming and requires expensive equipment. When Rao witnessed her parents testing their own water for lead with strips, she decided there had to be a better solution, according to Business Insider.

Rao’s device, which she developed with scientist mentors from 3M for three months this summer, uses carbon nanotubes tuned specifically to detect lead, and can be paired with a mobile app that displays the water’s results. Now that she’s won and received $25,000 in prize money for her invention, Rao hopes to further […]

More about Flint, Michigan and water:

Watchdog says lack of EPA oversight helped cause ‘catastrophic’ Flint water crisis

Fraudulence in Flint: How Suspect Science Helped Declare the Water Crisis Over

State puts Flint on notice for not fixing water system deficiencies

Flint Activist LeeAnne Walters Wins Major Environmental Prize

Federal Judge Orders All Parties In Flint Water Case Into Mediation

Flint Water Investigation Leads to Felony Charges for Michigan State Employees

Study: Fewer pregnancies, more fetal deaths in Flint after lead levels rose in water

Summary
This 11-Year-Old Just Developed New Sensor to Detect Lead in Tap Water
Article Name
This 11-Year-Old Just Developed New Sensor to Detect Lead in Tap Water
Description
11-year-old Gitanjali Rao invents device to test for lead in tap water faster, less costly, more accurately. Her "Tethys" uses carbon nanotubes tuned to detect lead.
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Rodale's Organic Life
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