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This Saskatoon teen's AI invention could one day help those with hearing loss

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A Saskatoon high school student has been awarded at the national science fair for her invention that uses AI to help people who are hearing impaired.

Yurui Qin, 15, from Centennial Collegiate said she built a device that aims to prevent accidents by alerting those with hearing challenges if there are other people behind them.

“I was reading an article this summer and it was talking about this runner from the States. He was deaf and he was talking about how unsafe he felt while running because people were yelling at him to get out of the way but he didn't know if people were behind him,” Qin told CTV News.

She said she saw it as a way to solve a simple issue.

Qin won a platinum award for innovation for her design.

“I programmed it and coded it up and made electrical prototypes of it. Right now it's just a prototype. But in the future, I want to make it so that it's more than just a prototype.”

One of the goals of the project was to make it affordable, she said.

“The cost of making my device was about $127, much cheaper than the traditional hearing aids. With close to a 98 per cent accuracy rate for distance, a 90 per cent accuracy rate in the walking test and the ability to detect humans accurately in multiple settings, I can conclude that my project was a success,” she said on the event website.

Qin said the experience of attending the Canada-wide Science Fair was unforgettable.

“It was crazy. It was my first time being away from family for that long period. So a little bit homesick, but I have to say it was such a wonderful experience. I would love to do it again. I met so many great people. And it was just incredible.”

She also said during the awards ceremony she didn’t expect to win.

“They called my name and I was like, Oh my goodness. I don't know. I was like super excited. I was so excited.”

She said her parents were very supportive and amazed at her win.

“I want to give a big thanks to the organizers, all my teachers and my fellow teammates, as well as the people that I made friends with throughout the event. It was amazing.”

About 396 students showcased their work at the science fair, the event website said. 

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