DENVER (CBSMiami) – A young science whiz from Colorado saw a problem and decided to invent a solution.
This young lady’s invention could prevent a lot of kids from getting sick.
Outside Denver a talented twelve year old is getting national attention for her contribution to science.
“If my mom asked me ‘what do you want for Christmas,’ I’d be like, lead,” said 12-year-old Gitanjali Rao.
That’s right, lead, which Rao needed for an invention called Tethys, which she describes as “the easy to use, fast, accurate, portable and inexpensive device to detect lead in water.”
She won a national competition for her invention, which was inspired by a real-world problem.
“I’ve been following the flint water crisis for about two years,” Rao said.
In flint, Michigan, nearly 100,000 residents drank lead contaminated water for more than a year, causing the number of children with lead poisoning to double.
“I think it’s just looking at my own perspective,” Rao said when asked why a girl from Colorado would care so much about what’s happening in Michigan. “That’s not something that I want to go through, what the Flint residents went through. Our water quality’s just as important as doctor’s appointments or dentist’s appointments.”
In her competition entry video, she spoke at super-sonic speed to explain her device in two minutes or less.
Instead of taking days to send water samples to a lab, Rao’s device detects lead in seconds using carbon molecules.
She’s one of many who love science at school but one of the few who turned an idea into an invention, says teacher Simi Basu.
“I am so confident that she will be able to take it to the market if we keep providing her help,” Basu said.
When asked what sets Rao apart, Basu simply said, “she’s a risk taker.”
As for the next project that Rao wants to create…
“I want to create a happiness meter which measures the amount of serotonin in your body, or the amount of gamma rays, and I still have to figure out how this works,” she said with a smile.
When she does, the science world will be waiting.