Alyssa Keirn is an 18-year-old engineering enthusiast who just took home a major award for a brand-new invention focused around reducing foodborne illnesses.

420,000 people a year die of foodborne illnesses, with 30% of those children under the age of five (according to a press release).

Alyssa Keirn photographed by Theresa Danna-Douglas, Davidson Insitute

Keirn wanted to solve this issue, and so she constructed a device that, using solar power, a single board Raspberry Pi computer, UVC light and ozone gas, would decontaminate foods and utensils.

The coolest part? Keirn built and tested the device in her family's garage.

The device is also portable, to provide access to safe food in areas where things like electricity or decontamination methods are hard to come by.

For her incredible invention, Keirn was awarded $25,000 that she will use towards her tuition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she will be studying this fall.

Congratulations, Alyssa!

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