In a remarkable display of ingenuity and scientific prowess, a 12-year-old girl from Miller Middle School in San Jose has developed a cutting-edge fire detection system, securing herself a well-deserved $25,000 cash prize and the coveted title of Top Junior Scientist.
Shanya Gill's invention, which outshined other remarkable entries at the Thermo Fischer Junior Innovator’s Challenge, is faster, more cost-effective, and more reliable than traditional smoke detectors. Inspired by a restaurant fire near her home, Shanya set out to create a system that could detect fires in their early stages, before they escalate into uncontrollable infernos.
By combining an affordable thermal camera with a compact computer, Shanya devised a system that can accurately differentiate between humans and heat sources. The innovative technology sends a text message alert if it detects a heat source but no human presence for a continuous 10-minute period.
With an impressive accuracy rate of 98% for detecting human presence and 97% for identifying heat sources, Shanya's invention promises to revolutionize fire safety measures. She identified the optimal placement for the detector above the stove but below the stove range, ensuring maximum coverage in the kitchen, where fires commonly originate.
Buoyed by her victory, Shanya plans to enhance her invention by integrating it with a smartphone app, allowing users to quickly verify alerts through a camera feed. She also aims to improve the system's resolution, incorporate smarter algorithms, and streamline its mass production.
As one of the 30 finalists of the Thermo Fisher JIC program, Shanya joins an elite group of talented students who collectively received over $100,000 in awards. Her achievement serves as an inspiration to young minds everywhere, highlighting the remarkable potential of STEM education and fostering a new generation of innovators.