The winners of this year's Google Science Fair have been announced!
The grand prize winner was 17-year-old Eric Chen, who engineered a new flu medicine.
"The emergence of new highly lethal influenza viruses such as H5N1 and H7N9 poses a grave threat to the world. My project is to discover novel influenza endonuclease inhibitors as leads for a new type of anti-flu medicine, effective against all influenza viruses including pandemic strains," Chen said in a statement on the Google Science Fair site.
The teen scientist used "computer modeling and biological studies" to determine a variety of endonuclease inhibitors, which would essentially block the influenza virus.
Chen's project was so successful that a patent was filed on his behalf.
"I hope that my work will attract pharmaceutical companies to put in more resources to this development and bring new types of flu medicine to patients in the near future. Since this study will help us combat influenza and save lives, it potentially has a great impact on human health and society," Chen said in his report.
Fifteen-year-old winner Ann Makosinski created a flashlight that can run on body heat.
"I designed a flashlight that provides bright light without batteries or moving parts," Makosinski said.
Elif Bilgin, 16, from Turkey figured out a way to produce plastic-like materials from an extremely natural source...banana skins.
"I was able to succeed in my endeavor to manufacture plastic that can actually be used in daily life," Bilgin said on the site.
Viney Kumar, 14, another winner, created a way to revolutionize the signal system on emergency vehicles.
"Effectiveness is determined by the reaction time available for target vehicles blocking the ERV's path and the amount of traffic. The [signaling] method is the main factor impacting reaction time, though it is compounded by factors like background noise and sound-proofing in vehicles" Kumar said.