Anushka Naiknaware, a seventh-grader from Beaverton, Ore., finished in the top eight in an international science contest run by Google for her invention: a bandage that can tell doctors when it needs to be changed, thus speeding healing.
According to a report in the Oregonian, Naiknaware’s bandage is embedded with extremely small monitors that let medical workers “see” whether the dressing—without removing it—has dried out enough that it needs to be changed. Large wounds need to be kept moist to promote healing, but changing bandages too often can exacerbate wounds. She developed a way to embed nanoparticles of graphene, via ink printed into fractal patterns, into bandages to accurately detect when moisture levels have dropped.
Naiknaware was the youngest of 16 global finalists, all of whom traveled to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., to present their projects. She scored the Lego Education Builder Award, designed to recognize “a student who uses an innovative, hands-on approach to solve some of the greatest engineering challenges.” The 13-year-old won a $15,000 scholarship, a free trip to the Lego world headquarters in Denmark, a chance to address the company’s board of directors and a year’s worth of entrepreneurship mentoring from a Lego executive.
Her parents, Ravi and Rahka Naiknaware, are both entrepreneurs with engineering and science backgrounds.