Mahum Siddiqi, a 17-year-old Indian-American teenager has won the inaugural “Digital Transformation Hackathon” at Cornell University for designing a device that detects the actual pain level of a patient during a diagnosis.
A Class 12 student at Vestal High School in New York, Mahum was the only non-undergraduate student competing at the hackathon held at the prestigious Ivy League college earlier in December.
Mahum’s aim was to cure the problem of the “pain diagnosis process’ subjectivity”. Together with her team, Mahum designed a pain detecting device that will use the neurological activity occurring in one’s brain to help doctors more efficiently determine someone pain levels.
Elaborating more on her idea, Mahum said, “It’s incredibly upsetting and problematic how hypothetical the concept of pain diagnostics is. Doctors have no way of knowing how little or how much pain someone is truly experiencing when they go in to be diagnosed”.
Mahum and her team are now working with representatives from companies such as Microsoft to produce prototypes of their pain detecting device.
“We need to design a system where patients are looked at as a whole, and doctors are able to know for sure, using our device/pure science, how much pain a patient is experiencing instead of just their personal description/perception of their own pain”.