Raspberry Pi prodigy can't get funding for asthma-warning device because he's 11

by admin March 30, 2018 at 11:56 am

Arnav Sharma is only 11 years old but he’s already achieved more than most people twice his age. 

When he was nine years old he invented AsthmaPi – a tool that detects asthma triggers, based on a platform using the Raspberry Pi – and now that he’s got a couple more years under his belt he’s invented a tool for dementia, and an education tool to teach children about food waste and sustainability. 

His work on AsthmaPi won him the BT Young Pioneer award at Tech4Good 2016, but things haven’t all been smooth sailing for the impressive youngster; he is apparently hitting a fairly significant hurdle in getting funding because of his age.

Not just a number

Arnav is a polite, unassuming young man who we sat down with at an event to celebrate the 2018 Tech4Good awards. As he’s so young, he was joined by his mother Dr Mihika Sharma, who is obviously a big influence in the boy’s life.

Arnav learnt the skills necessary to create AsthmaPi from YouTube; Mihika told us that both she and her husband (who’s also a doctor) are actively involved in Arnav’s education, rewarding his curiosity with at-home experiments and lessons. 

But before it starts seeming like the influence of pushy parents, Mihika seems as surprised as anyone that her son has learnt the things he has:

“As parents we don’t know any coding, or anything from the engineering side,” Mihika said,  “We explained to him what asthma is, and what dementia is, but he learned all the coding languages online by himself. He knows C++, Python, and Ruby. He built the hardware, we just buy whatever he asks us to.”

You can check out Arnav talking about his invention in the video below: