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San Jose Student Shows Off Potentially Life-Saving Invention At White House Science Fair

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – President Barack Obama hosted a science fair at the White House on Monday. The president saw 35 projects from student teams from across the country who won various competitions, and one of those students is from the Bay Area.

Ruchi Pandya is a senior at Lynbrook High in San Jose. Using tiny carbon nanofibers, Ruchi created a thumbnail-sized sensor that may one day save a lot of lives.

"I can actually, with one drop of blood, tell you what a certain protein concentration in your bloodstream is. That's an indicator for cardiac arrest," Ruchi told KPIX 5 via Skype.

Which means Ruchi's invention could become an in-home over-the-counter tester that will provide up to 72 hours warning of an impending heart attack.

"It's actually 250 times more sensitive than what's conventionally used. And it's very inexpensive," Ruchi said.

By simply changing which protein to search for, the detector could, for example, sniff out bioterrorist materials in an airport or food toxins in a supermarket. The possibilities are endless.

"Really proud of you, congratulations," Mr. Obama said to Ruchi.

The project shows what can happen when kids get excited about science and technology.

"So I think that opportunity is really out there for young scientists to just go out and pursue their scientific dreams, for the betterment of mankind," Ruchi said.

Ruchi said she hopes to attend either Stanford or Harvard in the fall. Eventually she would like to become a technology entrepreneur.

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