The competition, which is in its 21st year, challenges students in grades K through 12 to come up with inventions or technology that could exist 20 years from now.
Many students innovate to try to solve problems that exist in today’s world.
The gadget that the Kilmer Middle School team designed takes a technique that already exists and applies it in a new way.
“It uses Raman spectroscopy, which is a method where an invisible UV laser beam is pointed at the food sample. And then in that method, a small percentage of the light shifts in frequency and the plot of the shifted light versus the frequency is known as the Raman spectrum and is unique to each substance,” Bhave says.
The detector would use a database of 50 common food allergens to identify them once the laser is turned on.
Bhave says the device would be hand-held and easy to use.
“It’s 5 inches tall, 0.5 inches thick and 2 inches wide. We want it to be a touch screen like an iPhone, because everyone uses an iPhone these days.”
More than 5,200 teams of students from the U.S. and Canada entered this year’s ExploraVision competition, and the team from Kilmer Middle School is one of just 24 to win regional awards.