A middle school student just won $25,000 for inventing a fire alarm that works faster than the average smoke alarm

  • 12-year-old Shanya Gill won a national science competition for her fire alarm device.

  • By using a thermal imaging camera, the device works faster than an average smoke detector.

  • Gill said she hopes to use the $25,000 price tag to bring her device to market.

Last year, sixth-grader Shanya Gill and her family were shocked to learn that a restaurant behind their home had burned to the ground.

“It was really moving for my family because we had never experienced anything like this before,” Gill told Insider.

This inspired them to create a fire alarm device that could detect fires faster than the average smoke detector and send a text message to users to warn them of a fire.

Now she hopes to bring the device to market after the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge jury awarded her the top prize out of 65,000 middle school students.

Gill’s fire alarm uses thermal imaging technology instead of smoke detection

Gill’s device uses two key components: a thermal imaging camera and a Raspberry Pi, a small single-board computer.

“I coded the Raspberry Pi with Python and the thermal camera sends images to the Raspberry Pi for analysis,” Gill said. “The entire purpose of the device is to detect an unattended fire and send you a text message.”

The computer distinguishes between thermal measurements that move horizontally – such as a person or animal – and thermal measurements that move vertically, such as rising smoke.

“She has a really interesting device. I mean, it detects fires earlier than smoke detectors,” she said President and CEO of the Society for Science, an organizing partner of the competition.

Shanya Gill holds her device in front of a research poster.

Gill’s device consists of two main components: a thermal imaging camera and a small computer.Courtesy of the Society for Science

Gill said she plans to use the money to bring her detector to market – and any remaining funds will go to charities that help people affected by fires.

“I definitely want to put some of it into charities that help people whose homes may have been destroyed by fires, because that’s really just my whole goal with this project: to have this invention reach as many people as possible and save as many as possible. “We’re helping people as much as we can and rebuilding the things that people need,” Gill said.

According to competition officials, Gill stood out for her innovative project, team spirit and leadership skills

Initially, 65,000 middle school students took part in the competition and competed regionally. About these students. According to Ajmera, about 6,000 were nominated for the national competition and about 2,000 normally apply for the competition.

After several rounds of judging, the pool shrinks to 30 top finalists who then compete in the national event Science fair.

This means Gill and her fellow finalists were in the top 0.04% of students participating.

Ajmera told Insider that the 30 finalists were judged on two factors: the projects themselves and a series of surprising challenges they tackled in pre-assigned teams.

“We understand that she demonstrated leadership, collaboration, grace and critical thinking skills during the challenges and throughout the competition,” Ajmera told Insider.

Experienced practitioners assessed the students in STEM fields, Ajmera said.

“Not only did she have a brilliant project, but she also brought her leadership and collaboration skills and challenges and stood out,” Ajmera said. “We can’t wait to see what their journey looks like over the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years.”

Read the original article Business Insider

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