Liberty High School incoming junior Vishnu Vasudev was a winner at the 2021 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for his project Happy Feet: A Low-Cost Smart Shoe Utilizing Temperature, Pressure, Humidity, and Alcohol Levels to Detect and Monitor Common Foot Problems.
“It’s a bit like a fitbit for your feet,” explained Vasudev, who is in his fourth year of competing in science fairs. “I started working on the project this past September and was inspired to combine my interest in medical devices with the needs of people I know.”
After an admirable first-place finish at the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair, Vasudev was invited directly to the International Fair, skipping the State Science and Engineering Fair. At the International Fair, Vasudev won a Second Place Grand Award in the category of Biomedical Engineering.
He also won a First Award and CIA STEAM Challenge Coin from the Central Intelligence Agency, one of several organizations awarding young scientists and engineers cash and internships.
The ISEF, which is the world’s largest pre-college science fair, includes more than 20 categories spanning engineering, biological sciences, math and physical sciences.
“It has been my goal to attend ISEF for the past four years, but I wasn’t expecting to win an award in my first time there,” Vasudev said. “Science and engineering fair projects are unique in that they are long-term projects that require not only a rigorous scientific process and data analysis but also the ability to communicate the concept or project well.”
Vasudev took every opportunity to practice his presentation and to tailor his approach to ensure that no matter the audience, they would part with an understanding of the project.
Vasudev said that one of the most intriguing challenges of the project was brought on by the pandemic, which made some items harder to find and buy, while causing longer shipping times.
“Throughout the project and virtual learning this year, I got better at time management and planning ahead,” Vasudev said.
Vasudev plays cello in the Liberty Orchestra, is a red belt in taekwondo, Destination Imagination participant and started a Science Fair Club for fellow students at Liberty this school year. He is proud of the members of the club, who spent much of the year bouncing ideas off of each other, practicing presentations and eventually submitting nine science fair projects to the regional fair from Liberty High School.
Vasudev continues to pursue opportunities to further research and development of his winning science fair project.
“I am not done with the project yet,” Vasudev said. “I plan to improve the sensors and make the whole experience more user-friendly and durable.”
Unsurprisingly, his favorite subject in school is science. Vasudev has his eyes on college where he hopes to major in either biomedical engineering or electrical engineering.