A big congratulations to 17 year old Eswar Anandapadmanaban for being selected as one of the top 15 global finalists in this year's Google Science Fair.
His project? Eswar built a theremin-based touchless respiratory monitor. Dubbed "ThereNIM" (for There-Non Invasive Monitor), the apparatus hangs suspended over a hospital bed and detects the subtle rise and fall of a patient's chest during breathing. A computer monitors and records the signal, which doctors can review to look for signs of sleep apnea or other abnormal breathing patterns.
ThereNIM solves a key problem in the way sleep disorders are diagnosed today: the interference of test apparatus on the patient's sleep. Being a non-invasive solution, ThereNIM users are free to sleep as they normally would without annoying breathing masks or electrodes being attached to their bodies.
The best part? The whole device costs less than $50 to build.
This isn't the first attempt at using a theremin as a medical device. Previous attempts have experimented with theremins to aid posture and in musical therapy. Unlike previous attempts though, ThereNIM seems to have garnered much more attention. Let's hope Eswar's project takes off!
You can read much more about ThereNIM at http://goo.gl/JZE0E4.