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The winner of the 2014 Inventors Lab showcase, Vidhyasai Annem, formerly of Allentown, has been granted a U.S. Patent.
Vidhya participated in the Science Center’s Inventors Lab program at the age of 12 in the 2013-14 school year and invented a multiple-section hair brush that keeps stray hair from falling to the floor through use of a special fluid.
Vidhya’s patent idea came about through a solution to an everyday problem. Her mother wanted her to stop dropping her hair on the floor of the bathroom after brushing.
The method she developed is comprised of spraying a unique ferrofluid – a liquid that becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field – onto the user’s hair. Then any loose or broken hair is collected while brushing with a magnetized hair brush. The brush is demagnetized by “flipping” the magnetic base over, and the hair will be released into a wastebasket. The ferrofluid is harmless and can remain in the hair.
Vidhya, who formerly attended Springhouse Middle School, will be a senior at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, Texas. Earlier this year, she was part of a team that won a bronze medal in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. Her team developed an HIV-1 detection kit for pediatric use in low income areas.
For the past two and a half years, Vidhya has worked with patent attorney, James R. McDaniel, Esq., who donated his time and services, to file the necessary applications.
More than 240 students have developed ideas in the program, and now, eight showcase winners have submitted provisional and full US patent applications. Vidhya is the fifth student to have earned a full patent.