A teenager solved one of the biggest problems with air travel

Louis Dor
Sunday 23 October 2016 11:30
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Picture:(Getty/TED/YouTube)

A teenager worked out how germs travel on aeroplanes, and what can be done to limit them.

In a TED talk last year, Raymond Wang, 17, explained how he bulit computer simulations of germ movements on aircraft.

He found that as air is pumped into the cabin, diseases were spread from passenger to passenger due to air circulation - not due to the amount of filters.

He hopes his design for a tiny fan which recirculates air out of the cabin can solve this problem.

He said:

When we sneeze, the air gets swirled round multiple times before it has a chance to go out through the filter.

So I thought, OK this is clearly a pretty serious problem and I didn't have the money to go and buy a plane, so I just decided to build a computer instead.

It actually turns out that with computational fluid dynamics, what we're able to do is create these simulations that give us higher resolutions than going in and taking readings in the plane.

It's all quite impressive, really.

Watch the full talk below:

Wang has since created a 'global inlet director' for which he won a $75,000 prize at Intel's 2015 International Science and Engineering Fair.

It keeps air in a restricted amount of space before directing it towards a filter, is simple to install, and significantly reduces the swirling air flow patterns which help spread disease.

What were you doing when you were 17?

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