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14-Year-Old Creates Watch to Detect Signs of Stroke

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March 27, 2024

Her award-winning invention is saving lives!

In a display of youthful innovation, 14-year-old Naya Ellis from New Orleans has crafted a device aimed at detecting early signs of stroke. According to educational news outlet The 74, Naya’s creation, named WingItt, is a wristwatch equipped with sensors that measure heartbeat and nerve impulses, enabling it to pick up on subtle indicators of stroke in adults.

Naya’s journey towards inventing WingItt began with her participation in STEM NOLA, an organization offering hands-on STEM programs for K-12 students. Through STEM NOLA’s eight-month fellowship, designed to nurture the problem-solving skills of low-income high school students of color, Naya found herself equipped with the tools and opportunities to bring her innovative ideas to life.

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Initially drawn to the idea of designing a watch to detect seizures, Naya pivoted after witnessing her grandmother’s struggle with a stroke. Recognizing the lack of affordable and accessible stroke-detection devices, she decided to shift her focus towards creating WingItt, a device tailored to meet the needs of stroke-prone demographics, particularly older adults.

Naya’s ingenuity has not gone unnoticed, as she joins the ranks of 126 students selected as champions in the National STEM Challenge. Presented by the U.S. Department of Education and EXPLR, the competition celebrates young innovators and their contributions to the STEM landscape. Naya’s success underscores the transformative power of STEM education in empowering young minds to tackle real-world challenges.

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Looking ahead, Naya hopes to inspire other aspiring scientists, particularly students from underrepresented communities, to explore the boundless opportunities within STEM fields. As she continues her journey, she remains committed to her long-term goal of becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist, driven by her unwavering passion for supporting women’s health and well-being.

Cover Photo: 14-Year-Old Creates Watch to Detect Signs of Stroke / Credit: STEM NOLA

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