This Robot Which Can Detect Plastics in the Ocean is Invented by a 12-Year-Old Girl

She is now a finalist in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.


Kids in this generation are plagued with a lot of problems that will affect their future. Most do not bother, just act their age and play; but others feel the need to do something.

One of the latter is Anna Du from Andover, Massachusetts. Only 12 years old, she was able to invent a device that could potentially clean up the world’s oceans.

“One day when I was at Boston Harbor, I noticed there was a lot of plastics on the sand,” Du said. “I tried picking some up, but there seemed to be so many more, and it just seemed impossible to clean it all up.”

So she sought for a solution that is lot more effective than just picking up the plastics in the ocean. Her being a lover of marine animals pushed her to take action.

Du developed an underwater device that uses infrared light to detect harmful microplastics in the ocean. She thought of using infrared light because according to her, the chemical bonds within plastics are good at absorbing infrared.


Photo by Anna Du

Her remotely operated vehicle (ROV) has caught global attention after she applied for and got accepted in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Du is among the top 10 finalists, getting a chance to work with one of 3M’s scientists to improve her robot.

Video by Pei Zhang

“Science has always been a big part of my life,” Du said. “I’m super excited to make something that can actually help the world.”

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This achievement by the 12-year-old girl is a great benchmark for her dream career as a marine scientist. She plans to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Source: Boston 25 News

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This Robot Which Can Detect Plastics in the Ocean is Invented by a 12-Year-Old Girl

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