Sugar Land teen’s innovative flushing system earns a spot in Girls Save the World program

Mehaa Amirthalingam of Sugar Land has been named one of the 10 finalists in HP’s Girls Save the World challenge.

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Solv[ED] programYouth Challenge, HP Girls Save the World is for girls aged 13-18. Participants must propose a sustainable solution to an environmental problem in their community.

Mehaa, 17, who graduated from William B Travis High School this year, built a device that would save water by using gray water instead of fresh water for flushing the toilet.

Mehaa built an innovative water-saving toilet flushing system. The use of recycled water in the toilet flushing system not only cuts water consumption in households but also helps grapple with water scarcity. Mehaa built and installed the invention, named “Arya”, in the master bathroom of her own home.

“Grey water” is lightly used water from sinks, baths, showers and laundry, ie all domestic flows, with the exception of waste water from toilets.

In 2018, the first invention gained recognition when Mehaa was named one of the 10 finalists in the Discovery Education Network’s 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

Mehaa is the daughter of Nappinnai and Raja Amirthalingam.

The Girls Save the World citation on Mehaa’s Arya, said: The Texas resident created a simple way to conserve nearly 25% of domestic clean water usage with a dual water toilet flushing system called Arya. It redirects used shower water, called gray water, for toilet flushing.

Launched last October as part of the MIT Solv[ED] Youth Innovation Challenge, the Girls Save the World program invited girls ages 13 to 18 to submit their ideas for solving an environmental or societal challenge in their community by using technology.

Participants would enter for a chance to win part of a $50,000 prize pool and technology pack from HP to help them take the next steps in developing and implementing their solutions.

The Challenge received more than 800 applications from 148 countries, including many from girl-led teams that have worked tirelessly for months to submit innovative ideas that could make a difference in their communities.

While all solutions were considered, the judging criteria included proving the potential impact, feasibility, and scalability of their solutions. Each team had to demonstrate an innovative approach designed with — and for — underserved communities.

“To garner the best solutions to global issues, we must empower girls to dive into technology and innovation and bring more diverse voices to the forefront,” says Eliza Berg, Lead, Learning & Solv[ED] Communities at MIT Solve. “HP’s Girls Save the World prize has enabled us to uplift even more young innovators who want hands-on experience.”

After careful consideration, 10 finalists were chosen. Projects range from water conservation to STEM education and were shared at the first-ever Girls Save the World virtual camp this week. Participants were supported in honing their pitches, and received mentoring by experts from HP and program partners.

All finalists received a sustainable technology pack from HP, including: an Elite Dragonfly, the world’s first laptop made with ocean-bound plastics, an ENVY Inspire printer with an Instant Ink subscription that contributes to HP Planet Partners through the reuse and recycling of printer cartridges , along with a supply of HP brand paper which contributes to forest protection and restoration.

Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Nyamwange of Byron, Illinois, was the inaugural winner of this cohort, and claimed the top prize of $10,000. This funding will enable her to further develop her winning project, Etana.

The device created by Nyamwange is a low-cost, solar-powered fingerprint scanner, which creates biometric templates and uploads them to a public server. The data is recorded on a blockchain, making it easy and secure, giving women in developing countries a form of digital proof of identity without access to the internet or electricity.


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