Teen’s Water-Purifying Invention Nets $20K Award – NBC 7 San Diego

He has published five science fiction novels and he plays six-minute sonatas on the piano.

Yet, those may not be the most impressive feats by 15-year-old Kyle Tianshi.

The Cambridge School sophomore just netted a $20,000 grand prize from the Crystal Geyser California Youth Sustainability Awards.

“It was pretty crazy,” smiled Tianshi. “I was like, ‘What!?’”

Tianshi was awarded for the microscopic particle detector he called the NEREID. The patent-pending device uses a laser and microscope to detect microplastics in water. Those particles could be harmful to people and the environment.

“I was really impressed by that, by Kyle’s commitment to improve the health of his community and his environment,” said Crystal Geyser’s Director of Social Responsibility Charles Calvat.

Tianshi said he’s merely following in his sister’s footsteps. Emily Tianshi was recognized nationally for her water-collecting device that mimics the needles of the Torrey Pine. She is now studying at Stanford.

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“My sister has been a very big role model for me,” said the younger Tianshi.

He said he intends to donate some of the money to water conservation efforts and to the non-profit he started with his sister to encourage other kids to work towards a healthier environment.