Air-quality invention earns top prize

August 18, 2013 

Four N.C. School of Science and Mathematics students earned the top prize in the Cybertechnology and Security category of the 2013 Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge.

This year’s challenge was to create a product that used chemistry and technology to affect air-quality awareness. Rising seniors Parth Thakker, Irwin Li and Anshul Subramanya and recent graduate Monal Depani – in a team named “AirCOM” – designed and built a portable ozone sensor designed to be carried on a keychain and upload data to a smartphone app that can help a user decide whether the air quality is suitable for outdoor activity. As top prize winners, they received $10,000 to fund their invention.

Anshul is from Chapel Hill and previously attended East Chapel Hill High School. Parth is from Charlotte, Monal is from Fayetteville, and Irwin is from Waxhaw.

The team presented their invention to industry experts, government officials and scientists at an Innovation Summit last April at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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