Carmel High School senior Vikas Maturi advances to STEM competition national finals

By Mark Ambrogi

While volunteering at a medical facility, Carmel High School senior Vikas Maturi was motivated to develop a product that could reduce or eliminate pain from pre-injection procedures for ophthalmic patients.

“I saw patients were complaining about the speculum, which is a device that holds the eyelids open during an eye injection,” Maturi said. “I was seeing this over and over again, and patients were complaining a lot from the pain. I thought there had to be a better way to give these injections without the use of the speculum.”

So he began to engineer a device on 3D design software.

“After talking with physicians, I came up with a device for critical trials to see if it would reduce pain compared to traditional methods,” he said.

Maturi won top individual honors in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Region Three Finals at Notre Dame, earning a $3,000 scholarship for his project, Engineered Intraocular Injection Guide: Pain Reduction in Ophthalmic Disease Treatment. Maturi advances with other winners to present their project at the national finals from Dec. 4-8 in Washington, D.C., where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000. Maturi will give his presentation on Dec. 7.

“It’s rare to see this level of progress achieved in an independent project, but Vikas has single-handedly advanced pain reduction for ophthalmic patients,” stated Region Three competition judge Dr. W. Matthew Leevy, Research Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences and Director, Biological Imaging at the University of Notre Dame. “Vikas identified a problem and invented a device – after a successful critical trial. This sort of exhaustive and thorough problem solving is worth celebrating.”

Maturi said he was encouraged from the judges’ feedback on his project and is excited for the national competition.

“I’ll be practicing it a lot for that final presentation, reviewing the background material again and some of my sources,” Maturi said.

Maturi started this project in July 2013 and ended it in January.

“There is a really a big potential for this to go into the marketplace,” Maturi said of his device.

Earlier this year, Maturi was named one of six national finalists for Bright House Networks Bright Ideas STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) from Today’s Youth competition for designing a mechanized eye dropper.

Maturi, who has not selected a college yet, expects to major in product design or biomechanics engineering.

Jessica Mo, from CHS, and Park Tudor’s Emily Sun were team regional finalists in the Region Three competition.

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