Science Star: Ashwika Agrawal


The Regeneron Science Talent Search selected Cupertino High School senior Ashwika Agrawal as one of the top 300 scholars in the USA for her device that helps respiratory health. 

Agrawal’s device is officially called Hanu: A Low-Cost Computer-Aided Lung Auscultation Apparatus With Automated Diagnosis of Respiratory Illnesses. It is an innovative combination of hardware that analyzes sound signals from the patient. Then, its software diagnoses the signals into six possible common respiratory illnesses. Agrawal modified a stethoscope to connect a patient’s data to an app patients can download. 

Hanu was selected as one of the top 300 applications to the Science Talent Search. 

The Science Talent Search is a competition from the nonprofit organization Society for Science, which is devoted to scientific research and access to education for young scientists, with magazines, programs and competitions. The science and math competition is among the oldest and most esteemed for high school seniors. The program has three rounds of awards — first, judges select the top 300 applications from over 1,800, then the top 40 and finally, the top 10. The program is sponsored by Regeneron, a biotechnology company.

Hanu is a fully-functional prototype, but it must go through an extensive approval process for patients to use it. 

Agrawal began the project in 10th grade after noticing the need for affordable, advanced tools to support patients with chronic respiratory illnesses, such as her grandfather. 

She learned to build the device on her own, with online resources. “[I was] interested in creating something and then picking up what I needed along the way,” she said. 

As for the name, she chose the word Hanu because it means ‘respiration’ in Hawaiian. 

All in all, Agrawal said, Hanu was the most technologically advanced project she’s worked on, and she’s satisfied with how it is turning out. 

Previously, she participated in the Synopsys Championship, a Santa Clara County science fair. Nowadays, Agrawal largely focuses on improving Hanu and adding other notable features, but she also leads the CHS science magazine, Tino Explore. 

Apart from her involvement in science fairs, she enjoys singing and playing guitar on her youtube channel, ashwikasings. Her ambition is to study biotechnology in college, where she can enhance her skills and invent more innovative devices.

To other adolescents interested in science, Agrawal said, “Go for it. It’s really fun and it’s a great way to do something you’re passionate about.”