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Watch now: Winners announced in Normal’s high school innovators contest | Local Education

NORMAL – A Peoria student enrolled at the Illinois Math & Science Academy was named Saturday afternoon as one of the top five winners of the Celebrating High School Innovators program.

Khushi Shah said in her video pitch submission that a family trip to India made her dedicated to creating technology that would help people access clean water.



Khushi Shah, right, poses for a photo with father, Vaibhav Shah, left, in between rounds of judging Saturday at the Celebrating High School Innovators contest at Hancock Stadium in Normal.


Brendan Denison



Her concept submitted to the program is “E-Code,” a smart irrigation system that optimizes water use through moisture sensors and online databases on plant and weather information. Shah said the system, which automatically engages an irrigation system, could save between 4.5 to 13 billion liters of water daily on a global scale.

Before award results were announced, her father told The Pantagraph on Saturday that he didn’t have same opportunities offered by the innovator program when he was a kid.

Teens put minds to the test at Normal innovation contest

Now on its seventh year, the program challenges high school students to invent new products, solve major social problems and change the world. Around 24 finalist teams on Saturday took their ideas to the Illinois State University Hancock Stadium club for review.

Paul Ritter, CHSI founder and director and teacher at the Pontiac Township High School, said the young innovators make great things happen. He added that while final winners get a cash prize and scholarship, the real reward is getting to share their ideas with other students.

In no specific order, the other four final winners are IMSA student Dhruv Patel, of Elk Grove Village; Barrington High School student Sahil Mittal, of Barrington; IMSA student Mika Arora, of Morton Grove; and BHS student Ryan Tripathy, of Barrington.

Patel’s innovation is a game-based digital therapeutic app that helps people correct hand tremors and increase hand motor precision.

Mittal, a team leader of five other Barrington students, proposed a silica-based liquid screen protector for mobile phones called “Liquid Blue.”

Team leader Umika Arora, with help from Rian Carter, developed an enhanced mobility cane with location tracking, emergency communications features and a flashlight.

Tripathy designed a dog-walking leash called “DogWare” that reduces stress on a dog’s neck and prevents the leash from tangling in their legs.

Students from Normal and Pontiac were among the two dozen finalists. University High School Junior Sirihaasa Nallamothu is developing an algorithm that could predict when people with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome are about to faint.

Pontiac High School seniors Molly Masching, Ashlyn Bernard and Georgie Dinardi are working with the Illinois Department of Transportation to identify and correct causes of garbage falling off trucks on Interstate 55.

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