14-year-old invents a stroke-detecting watch after her grandma’s health issues

Dollita Okine April 18, 2024
Inspired by her own family's experiences, Ellis, who is only 14 years old, created the WingItt watch, which detects strokes and has won the National STEM Challenge champion title. Photo Credit: STEM NOLA

Naya Ellis’ revolutionary idea is garnering headlines. Inspired by her family’s experiences, Ellis, who is only 14 years old, created the WingItt watch, which won the National STEM Challenge champion title.

Designed to identify the internal indicators of a stroke, the watch works by tracking heart rates and nerve impulses. A freshman at John F. Kennedy High School in New Orleans, she told The 74, “I want to do something I’m interested in that will also change the world.”

The young inventor’s journey started with the STEM NOLA program, which offers high-potential, low-income high-school students of color an eight-month science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fellowship. Through the program, she was inspired to create a watch that detects seizures.

But Ellis later shifted her attention from creating a seizure-detecting gadget to a stroke-detecting watch since her grandmother had suffered a stroke. While many stroke victims, according to Ellis, may have obvious symptoms like a drooping face or an odd taste in their mouth, she sought to invent a device that could identify internal problems.

She wanted to serve the 55+ population because, throughout her research, she discovered that this age group had a higher incidence of strokes than young people. As she is ironing out the bugs in her prototype, she wants to make sure that it is just identifying strokes and not other conditions, like cardiac problems.

She expressed her desire to ensure that WingItt is available to everyone, particularly senior citizens who might not have the resources to purchase expensive gadgets. The ninth grader wants to become an obstetrician-gynecologist when she grows up.

In addition to setting an example for upcoming young inventors, Ellis’s accomplishment in the National STEM Challenge makes her one of the elite few chosen as a champion out of over 2,500 participants countrywide.

She will have an opportunity to present WingItt at the national festival in Washington, D.C., and learn more from prominent STEM experts.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 18, 2024


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