Chandler Teen Honored For Creating Life-Detection Device SanTan Sun News

Chandler Teen Honored For Creating Life-Detection Device

October 22nd, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Chandler Teen Honored For Creating Life-Detection Device
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A Chandler teenager is celebrating the award of a $25,000 scholarship for creating a life-detecting device in natural disasters.

Seventeen-year-old Sachin Konan was one of 20 students honored as a 2018 Davidson Fellow through the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Konan joined the other fellows recently at a reception in Washington, D.C.

Sachin’s invention, called “A Low-Cost, Clutter-Cancelling Life Detection System for First Response After Natural Disasters,” is designed to help recover buried earthquake victims after natural disasters.

“The recognition of my work in the Davidson Fellows program is a tremendous honor,” Sachin said. “It further confirms the importance of pursing engineering to create new ideas that will benefit society.”

Sachin said he was inspired by watching news of first-response teams searching for buried victims in the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

“The Nepal Earthquake claimed the lives of nearly 8,000 civilians, some of whom died literally buried alive because it is simply impossible to locate the presence of a human through such dense material without physically digging,” the institute said, adding:

“Sachin realized he needed to build a device which could quickly scan and decisively surmise a human’s presence in an area – this would hasten the first-response process and increase the likelihood of saving lives.”

The teen designed a 2.4 GHz Doppler radar with active clutter cancellation and signal processing algorithms. The device can detect humans through as much as 1 meter of concrete and 1.5 meters of brick.

Konan participated in the First Robotics Competition and a Formula 1-car design competition while a student at Hamilton High School.

He also volunteers as a student mentor for several regional First Lego League robotics teams and at the local senior center. Konan plans to focus more on data analytics and artificial intelligence research in order to build smarter devices that can help society solve problems.

“Sachin has been infatuated with engineering ever since he was a child,” the institute said. “Since then, Sachin enjoys applying his passion and constructing devices/programs to solve present-day problems. The recognition of his work in the Davidson Fellows program is a tremendous honor, as it further confirms to Sachin the importance of pursuing engineering to create new ideas that will benefit society.”

The institute said Konan worked with ASU Professor James Aberle through weekly Skype calls and that Aberle not only provided advice but also enabled him to use university’s Connection One Laboratory.

Its high-frequency oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers helped Sachin “investigate the internals of the radar which would otherwise be undiscoverable by Sachin’s low frequency home instruments,” the institute said, noting:

“Aberle and the lab helped Sachin discover and debug the greatest issue with through-wall radar: clutter. Clutter consists of signal that reflect, rather than penetrate, off the obstructing material and oversaturates the receive antenna of the radar. In order to rid the system of this problem, Sachin built a clutter-cancellation system, which was inspired by the destructive interference principles he learned in his AP Physics curriculum, to vanquish any presence of clutter.”

Also helping the teen was Debbie Nipar, who monitored the project’s development and helped purchase costly radar components.

Although his Doppler radar system “is already capable of detecting humans through materials and depths close to the conditions felt by buried earthquake victims,” the institute reported that Sachin met with the US Agency for International Development at an Intel Science and Engineering Fair and that he realized “the radar must be less expensive and miniaturized to be widely applicable in the underdeveloped countries that are often afflicted by earthquakes.”

“That is why the next version of this radar will reside on a fabricated circuit board, costing around $90,” the institute said. “This would allow first-responders the ability to search for buried humans by mounting this system on a drone or robotic rover.”

The drone can scan a large area and extrapolate search locations in a fraction of the time it would take a team of first-responders to complete the same task.

“Every year I am amazed by the depth of the Fellows’ accomplishments,” said Bob Davidson, founder of the Davidson Institute. “Gifted students like these will be among the pioneers who will solve the world’s most vexing problems.”

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