Washington: A 15-year-old Indian-American boy has won the prestigious ‘Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award’ for developing a low-cost electronically-aided knee brace that allows a person with a weakened leg to walk more naturally.
Syamantak Payra, a Texas resident, won the USD 50,000 award along with 17-year-old Kathy Liu. The award was given by Intel Corporation and the Society for Science and the Public (SSP) at the 2016 ‘Intel International Science and Engineering Fair’ in Arizona last week.
“Our top winners this year – Syamantak and Kathy – clearly demonstrate that age has no bearing on your ability to conduct research and come up with solutions to important problems,” said Maya Ajmera, SSP president and chief executive.
“We congratulate them not only for their success, but on their dedication and hard work. They and the rest of the Intel ISEF finalists are the rising stars of STEM and we look forward to watching them pursue their passions and in turn make the world a better place for future generations,” Ms Ajmera said.
When Mr Payra tested his prototype with two individuals partially disabled by polio, it almost immediately restored a more natural gait and increased mobility, according to a statement.
“Intel congratulates this year’s winners and hopes that their work will inspire other young innovators to apply their curiosity and ingenuity to today’s global challenges,” Intel Foundation president and Intel Corporation vice president of human resources and director of corporate affairs Rosalind Hudnell said in a statement.
This year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,700 young scientists selected from 419 affiliate fairs held in 77 countries.
A team of students from India also attended the event. Five Indian Americans also figured in the 22 “Best of Category” winners and each received a USD 5,000 prize.
These winners included Rajeev Jha (Hawaii) in the Behavioral and Social Sciences category, Marissa Sumathipala (Virginia) in the Cellular and Molecular Biology, Swetha Revanur (California) in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Tiasha Joardar (Texas) in the Energy: Physical category and Prashant Godishala (Minnesota) in the Translational Medical Science.
Under the Intel and Indo-US Science & Technology Forum, three students won the award for a visit to India.