16-Year-Old Engineer Works to Improve Spinal Surgery Using Machine Learning and Computer Vision

May 17, 2019

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Krithik Ramesh, 16, of Greenwood Village, Colorado, was awarded first place for developing a machine learning technology for orthopedic surgeons at this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public. Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. The competition featured over 1,800 young scientists selected from 423 affiliate fairs in more than 80 countries, regions and territories.

Using machine learning and computer vision, the project helps orthopedic surgeons achieve greater accuracy for screw placement during spinal surgery. Based on Ramesh’s tests, this method has the potential to decrease operating time by at least 30 minutes, reduce physical therapy recovery time by four weeks and diminish the negative side effects associated with traditional medical imaging. Ramesh received the $75,000 Gordon E. Moore Award, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.

Press Kit: Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2019: Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovators

Allison Jia, 17, of San Jose, California, received one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of $50,000 for her investigation into toxic tau protein aggregates, which spread in neurons in the human brain and are associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Rachel Seevers, 17, of Lexington, Kentucky, received the other Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000 for designing, building and testing a rigid, energy-efficient prototype of an underwater propulsion device that mimics the way jellyfish move through the water. This could allow for greater access to the world’s unexplored oceans.

Shriya Reddy, 15, of Northville, Michigan, received the newly announced $10,000 Craig R. Barrett Award for Innovation, funded through Society for Science and the Public, for her novel, noninvasive approach for rapidly diagnosing melanoma lesions.

“Intel is proud to honor Krithik Ramesh, Rachel Seevers, Allison Jia, Shriya Reddy and all of the ISEF finalists on their innovative work, which is helping to advance key research areas and provide solutions to global challenges that are critical today. The work they are doing has the potential to make a better tomorrow for all of us,” said Pia Wilson-Body, president of the Intel Foundation. “And I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight the communities of support surrounding these students every day: parents, teachers, mentors, administrators, supporters and organizations like SSP who provide opportunities for students to engage and explore the world of STEM, and ultimately reach their full potential.”

In addition to the top winners, approximately 600 finalists received awards and prizes for their innovative research, including 22 “Best of Category” winners, who each received a $5,000 prize in addition to their $3,000 first-place award. The Intel Foundation also awarded a $1,000 grant to each winner’s school and to the affiliated fair they represent.

The following lists the 22 Best of Category winners, from which the top three were chosen:

Animal SciencesDylan Bagnall and Richard BeattieDublinIreland
Behavioral and Social SciencesGiovanni SantucciOssiningNew York
BiochemistryAnnika MorganReddingConnecticut
Biomedical and Health SciencesShriya ReddyNorthvilleMichigan
Biomedical EngineeringKrithik RameshGreenwood VillageColorado
Cellular and Molecular BiologyAllison JiaSan JoseCalifornia
ChemistryHelena JiangGainesvilleFlorida
Computational Biology and BioinformaticsJason PingHackensackNew Jersey
Earth and Environmental SciencesKatie LuSpringfieldMissouri
Embedded SystemsMax von WolffMayenGermany
Energy: ChemicalShicheng HuShanghaiChina
Energy: PhysicalJoonyoung Lee and Mincheol ParkBusanSouth Korea
Engineering MechanicsRachel SeeversLexingtonKentucky
Environmental EngineeringAdyant ShankarNashuaNew Hampshire
Materials ScienceAdrien JatheFrankfurtGermany
MathematicsAnaMaria PerezAlbuquerqueNew Mexico
MicrobiologyPoojan Pandya and Leo TakemaruDix Hills and East SetauketNew York
Physics and AstronomyKaylie HausknechtLynbrookNew York
Plant SciencesAmara IfejiBangorMaine
Robotics and Intelligent MachinesKevin MengPlanoTexas
Systems SoftwareAdam KellyDublinIreland
Translational Medical ScienceHannah HerbstBoca RatonFlorida

“The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is the world’s most powerful STEM talent pipeline and I am inspired by all of the ingenuity on display this week,” said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of Society for Science & the Public and publisher of Science News. “Congratulations to our winners and all our finalists who are demonstrating that world-changing ideas can come from anywhere in the world.”

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair provides opportunities for students to explore their passion for developing innovations that improve the way we work and live. All finalists are selected by an affiliated, local competition and receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix. At the competition, finalists are judged by hundreds of science, engineering and industry professionals who have a Ph.D. or equivalent (six years of related professional experience) or are senior graduate students with doctoral-level research in one of the 22 scientific disciplines above.

A full listing of finalists is available in the event program. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2019 is funded jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation with additional support from dozens of corporate, academic, government and science-focused sponsors. This year, approximately $5 million was awarded.

About Intel

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), a leader in the semiconductor industry, is shaping the data-centric future with computing and communications technology that is the foundation of the world’s innovations. The company’s engineering expertise is helping address the world’s greatest challenges as well as helping secure, power and connect billions of devices and the infrastructure of the smart, connected world – from the cloud to the network to the edge and everything in between. Find more information about Intel at newsroom.intel.com and intel.com.

About the Society

Society for Science & the Public is dedicated to the achievement of young scientists in independent research and to public engagement in science. Established in 1921, Society is a nonprofit whose vision is to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Through its world-class competitions, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS, and its award-winning magazine, Science News and Science News for Students, Society for Science & the Public is committed to inform, educate, and inspire. Learn more at www.societyforscience.org and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Snapchat (Society4Science).

Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Photo (Credit: Chris Ayers/Society for Science & the Public)


Alexa Korkos
Intel Corporation

Gayle Kansagor
Society for Science & the Public

Mills Forni
WPP for Intel Corporation

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