Anushka Naiknaware’s research in nanoparticles that started four years ago led to her being presented with the Lego Education Builder Award at final year’s Google Science Fair for her work to create a bandage that would help chronic wounds heal faster. All before she began high school.
“I realized that this was a very big problem because more people die of injuries every year than they do of HIV and malaria” Naiknaware, 13, says in a video posted by Google Science Fair. “After I discovered that, I wanted to find a solution for this.”
The key to Naiknaware’s invention is dampness. For chronic wounds — injury that for one reason or another do not heal in a standard measure of time — a certain amount of moistness is needed to facilitate healing. If the dressing on a injury is changed too frequently, the healing process can be interrupted. So, Naiknaware wanted to make a sensor that would allow doctors to check the progress of a injury without having to remove bandaging.
She first started by making her own ink out of nanoparticles. She used that ink to print out a circuit (on her family’s Laser Jet) that would direct power. By running a current through that circuit, she could record a measurement of the dampness and ensure it was being kept in an perfect environment for healing.
Accidents result in thousands of injuries every year in the U.S., many of which result in chronic wounds. These types of wounds are common for elderly patients and patients with diabetes. Naiknaware’s breakthrough could also have potential implications for the military and help injured soldiers recover faster and more cost-effectively.
Naiknaware loved science from an early age. When she was four years old, her parents started taking her to the local science museum and, she reffer Marie Curie as one of her heroes.
We hope Naiknaware, as well, continues to keep building.
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