Chandler teen inventor earns big national nod - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler teen inventor earns big national nod

April 11th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Chandler teen inventor earns big national nod

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

Prisha Shroff may need to brush up on patent law if she keeps on inventing at the pace she’s currently on.

The Hamilton High School freshman can already claim four inventions, including one that won a national award.

Not bad for a 15-year-old.

All of her inventions to date are to solve problems that she witnessed or heard about.

NASA is having a problem with its rovers running out of power on Mars; Prisha has a solution for that. The family comes home from a trip to find its backyard flooded by the swimming pool; there’s a fix for that. Drones are running out of power after only about 10 minutes of flight; she’s got a plan for that.

But the one she won the $10,000 national Broadcom Foundation Lemelson Award for Invention came after seeing a wildfire shut down a highway in Los Angeles. Her invention is an artificial intelligence program that predicts hotspots and then deploys a drone to spray fire retardant in an effort to stop wildfires before they start.

“Some of my friends had to evacuate their homes,” Prisha said. “Houses were destroyed, and the air pollution at that time was so bad that we weren’t suppose to step outside. That really inspired me, we needed to make a change and prevent these wildfires.”

Prisha’s father, Romish Shroff, said that attitude is not surprising, given her role models.

“Her role models are Elon Musk and Gandhi,” he said. “Elon Musk because he wants to change the world solving real-life problems. And Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world first.’ I think she’s getting those values from both of them.”

Romish said the plan now is for Prisha to turn her idea into a real-world product. That led to another invention. Her idea to use drones to spray fire retardant on hotspots ran into a problem because of their limited flying time before they need to recharge. So, she came up with an idea for solar-powered drones.

Her first invention came while she was a student at Knox Gifted Academy. She heard about the rovers on Mars running out of power because of dust on the solar arrays. She thought a self-cleaning solar panel would take care of that.

“The reason that they stopped was because there was so much dust on the solar panel that it couldn’t convert that solar energy to continue on moving,” she said.

The fourth invention is AquaSaver, which she came up with after her family returned from a trip to find their backyard flooded by the pool. Her device is a leak detector that will send you a text message when there is a flooding event.

She actually worked on the AI program for wildfires while attending Accelerated Middle School at Basha.

Last month, Prisha was one of 100 students selected from around the country to attend the Disney Dreamers Academy at DisneyWorld in Florida. The 15-year-old program mentors students from under-represented communities.

“It was a fun experience and it inspired me to (realize) that what you can do with technology has no limits,” Prisha said.

Prisha’s personal motto might explain where all this ambition is coming from:

“To be curious, to dream big, and to never give up,” she said. “Don’t just hope it happens, you should strive to make it happen.”