16-Year-Old Girl Brings Hope With Award-Winning Invention

Etana's project lead Elizabeth Nyamwange running tests on her biometric device. Source: HP

(Broadry) — Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Nyamwange of Byron, Illinois had an idea. 

She wanted to help women in developing countries, without access to electricity or the internet, an infallible means of personal identification. So, she created a solar-powered fingerprint scanner. The scanner takes an impression of a fingerprint and uploads them to a public server. The data is then recorded on an easy-to-access blockchain.

She submitted her idea (she calls “Etana”) to the 2021 MIT Solv{ED} Youth Innovation Challenge, a program run in conjunction with HP’s Girls Save the World program that aims to help young women develop solution-oriented ideas to help with environmental or societal challenges. Over 800 applicants applied from nearly 150 countries. Elizabeth’s idea was chosen as the winner.

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In an interview with HP, Elizabeth says she was never sure she’d have the resources and support to create her idea. Now, she’ll be able to take the next step in developing her project, thanks to receiving part of a $50,000 prize pool and a sustainable technology pack from HP. She also had the chance to meet many of the other finalists along the way.

“It was so amazing to meet all of the girls, and I cannot wait to see how they all change the world,” says Elizabeth.

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