Young women in STEM are going to change the world as we know it. Don’t believe us? Well then take a look at young Maanasa Mendu, a 13 year old from Ohio.
Mendu has been awarded a grant prize in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientists Challenge for her work, which could make solar and wind energy a lot more afforedable.
Her cost efficient ‘solar leaves’ have won her the title of America’s Top Young Scientist, as well as a $25,000 bonus for her achievement.
The leaves, designed by Mendu is intended to to help developing areas in need of cheaper power sources, costing roughly US $5 to make.
For the last three months, Mendu and nine other finalists have worked on their projects alongside their mentors that were provided by 3M.
Mendu was inspired to create a cheaper way to produce energy after visiting India, and seeing the many people who lacked access to clean water and energy.
Here are some pictures of what Mendu started off with:
Maanasa Mendu via YouTube
However, while working on the project, Mendu, and her 3M mentor Margauz Mitera, moved into a different kind of energy collection. Taking inspiration from leaves and how they function, she changed her design to look more like leaves, harnessing the vibration energy.
The ‘leaves’ are able to pick up energy from precipitation, wind, and even sunlight using a solar cell and piezoelectric material. These are then transformed into usable energy.
So Mendu ended up with this:
So now that the competition is over, the young scientists will be focusing on working the prototype to perfection.