14-yo designs headphones that treat mid-ear infections
Leanne Fan created Finsen Headphones, a low-cost headphone device that detects and treats mid-ear infections in children using machine learning and blue light treatment.
The grand prize winner of this year's 3M Young Scientist Challenge, the nation's premier middle school science competition, was a 14-year-old Asian American from San Diego, California.
Leanne Fan created Finsen Headphones, a low-cost headphone device that detects and treats mid-ear infections in children using machine learning and blue light treatment, potentially saving up to 60% of hearing loss in children, according to the Good News Network.
As a finalist, Leanne was assigned a mentor, Dr. Ross Behling, a research specialist at 3M's material laboratory, who worked with her one-on-one during the summer to turn her idea from concept to prototype.
The nine finalists then competed for two days in October at the 3M headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, presenting final presentations of their concepts.
It is worth noting that there are 700 million occurrences of middle ear infections and about 21,000 related deaths worldwide on yearly basis.
Many of those affected are children from low-income families. Diagnosis and treatment are frequently challenging without medical access and/or healthcare. Leanne's idea seeks to provide a low-cost, antibiotic-free option for detecting and treating any mid-ear infection.
The incoming high school freshman received a monetary reward of $25,000, a trip to a particular locale, and the renowned title of "America's Top Young Scientist”. She intends to utilize a portion of the award money to begin the patent procedure for the headphones.
The second and third-place winners earned $1,000 apiece as well as a special vacation trip.