Eesha Khare of Saratoga, California was recently recognized as one of the best young scientists in the world for her invention: a tiny device that fits inside a cellphone battery and can be charged in 20 or 30 seconds.
She was one of two runners up at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which took place in Phoenix, Arizona. Khare beat out more than 1,600 other finalists from more than 70 countries to claim the prize.
Her invention - a "supercapacitor" - can also be used in car batteries, and it could revolutionize how people charge their devices.
It would be an impressive achievement at any age. But it's especially cool for a teenager: Khare is 18 years old, and a senior at Lynbrook High School.
"I'm in a daze. I can't believe this happened," she told a local news channel after the Intel awards ceremony.
She says the inspiration for her invention came from her frustration at always finding her cell phone battery dead.
And as if charging in 20-30 seconds isn't enough, her supercapacitor also lasts a lot longer than a regular battery: it offers 10,000 charge/recharge cycles, compared to the 1,000 available in today's batteries.
At the moment, the supercapacitor isn't that powerful: it can only charge an LED light. But with advances in nano-technology, it's likely that future versions will be capable of powering more complex devices like cell phones, Phys.org reports.
The award also comes with a $50,000 cash prize, which Khare expects to use for college - although with the recognition that comes from winning a Young Scientist Award, she might get a scholarship.
She is enrolling at Harvard University this fall, and apparently Google has already expressed interest in hiring her down the road.
She's passionate about her future: "I will be setting the world on fire," she said.
But first? Like most other teens her age, she's going to attend her senior prom.
Two other young scientists were honoured for their impressive scientific contributions at the award ceremony.
A Low-Cost, Self-Driving Car
Budisteanu at the Intel event (Photo: Intel)
Romania's Ionut Budisteanu, 19, won first place for his work using artificial intelligence to create a viable model for a low-cost self-driving car.
He said his research is intended to help solve a major global issue: deaths from car accidents. In 2004, 2.5 million people died in accidents involving motorized vehicles, and 87 per cent of those deaths were caused by driver error.
Budisteanu used 3-D radar and mounted cameras in his design for an autonomously controlled car that can detect traffic lanes, curbs, and the real-time location of the vehicle. And the total cost per car? $4,000.
Henry Lin meets President Obama (Photo: Caddo Parish Magnet High School/Facebook)
Henry Lin of Shreveport, Louisiana, was the other runner up in the competition. He won for simulating thousands of clusters of galaxies, which has offered new data to scientists that will help them understand the mysteries of astrophysics.
The work Lin, 17, has created will offer new insights into dark matter, dark energy and the balance of heating and cooling in the universe's most massive objects.