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Science Fair a showcase for some head-spinning entries

Published on

Troy Shantz

A Sarnia teen is working on a prototype for a wearable device capable of detecting E. coli in the body.

Devarsh Shah, 15, says his biosensor comprised of mechanical and biological parts can detect pathogens and chemicals in both the water and human body.

“The medical field is constantly evolving and becoming more technological, yet there are still some methods that are actually harmful… or they could be done in a better way,” said the Grade 10 student at Northern Collegiate.

“So the inspiration for this product is to be super consumer-friendly.”

Shah’s project will be on display at the Lambton County Science Fair running April 13 and 14 at the Lambton College gymnasium.

The Fair has categories open to students from Grades 3 to 12.

Participants compete for over $5,000 in prizes, with the intermediate and senior winners eligible to qualify for the Canada-Wide Science Fair May 12-15 in Ottawa.

Shah said his biosensor will be similar to a Fitbit but able to detect E. coli, a bacterium that can cause infection.

“They can come in many different sizes and shapes,” he said of the invention. “Or they can be integrated into smaller devices which can be wearable.”

The biosensor is contained a 3D-printed housing and includes a quartz crystal. He said the device measures a change in frequency, converting it into a type of electric signal that can be read by a computer.

Shah aims to improve on the current process scientists use to detect E. coli, accomplishing in 10 minutes what currently takes several hours.

His submissions have come a long way since he first entered the Fair in 2012. As a fourth grader he prepared a project explaining how solar cells work.

The Fair has become an annual event for Shah, whose head-spinning submissions have included a user-friendly glucose detector and a genetically modified orange.

“It’s really fun and it’s kind of a challenge,” he said.

“Most people (are) scared of stress but when stress comes to me, it’s kind of like I work harder.”

Fair submissions are still being accepted. For more, visit



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