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Fox Chapel teens earn recognition for ingenuity

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Looking to help save the environment?

There soon might be an app for that.

An idea by Fox Chapel Area freshman Suvir Mirchandani earned him a semi-finalist spot in the Broadcom MASTERS for Rising Stars competition at the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

The 14-year-old created a device, in theory, that would regulate household waste.

“It would monitor leaking faucets or lights left on and report waste to the homeowner via the mobile app,” said Suvir, who submitted the work as an eighth-grader at Dorseyville Middle School.

“I am elated by this validation of my work. I am passionate about eco-friendly solutions to everyday problems.”

Classmate Mihir Garimella was named a semi- finalist for his “ScentIt: Digitally Recreating Smells.”

Mihir, 13, explored integrating the sense of smell to enhance computer use.

“I got the idea one weekend when I was doing a video call with my grandparents in India,” Mihir said. “They showed me the garden in front of their house. While I enjoyed being able to see it, I wondered about being able to smell it.

“Research has shown that smell has more power than any other sense to help us recall memories.”

Sponsored by Carnegie Science Center, the competition seeks science and math enthusiasts with a mission to encourage them to pursue their passions.

Suvir and Mihir were selected among 300 semi-finalists from an initial 1,700 applicants who will compete for a $25,000 education grant.

There were 15 students who placed from across the state; the pair is among eight from the Pittsburgh region.

The semi-finalists were selected by scientists, engineers and educators. Other students from the area were chosen from the Campus School of Carlow University, Upper St. Clair School District, The Ellis School and Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School.

Winners of the Broadcom MASTERS will be announced in October.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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