It is said that a genius mind looks at things in different ways than us. It sees what we cannot see and hence, comes up with revolutionary ideas and inventions. For such minds, the sky is the limit. However, this 12th grader from Bengaluru has made a mark in a galaxy.
16-year-old Sahithi Pingali represented India at the International Science and Engineering Fair and finished at the second position. ISEF is considered the largest international pre-college science competition. She won three special awards in the Earth and Environmental Sciences category.
Sahithi developed an app-based system to monitor pollution in water bodies. She presented a paper, “An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies”, based on the insights gathered through this app. Her presentation was so impressive that the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided to give her name to a minor planet.
Sahithi discussed her project with the Economic Times and said,
Over 90% of our lakes are sewage-fed. What makes the issue worse is that there isn’t enough monitoring.
The app-based mobile kit gathers water testing data with electronic sensors and test strips to let the user collect physical and chemical parameters of a water sample. Color recognition and mapping software help indicate the extent of contamination in water by capturing the color of the test strip.
Sahithi was born in the US and moved to India eight years ago. She talks about the inspiration behind her work,
I think the contrast between those two settings made me extra aware of the problems -our cities are literally dying, sucked dry and choked with pollution.
Sahithi is the eldest among three sisters. Her father is a distinguished engineer at IBM Global. At ISEF, she was competing against 1,700 other participants from around the world and bagged three awards out of the 21 awards won by the Indian contingent. Currently, she is pursuing a summer internship at the University of Michigan’s Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Center.