Not many 14-year-olds can say they have traveled to Silicon Valley to introduce the world to what could be the next generation of medical imaging.
Jasper High School freshman David Yue is an exception.
Yue's eighth-grade science fair project, “Stereoscopic Three-Dimensional X-ray Reconstruction Processing and its Application to Cancer Prevention,” won first place in the mathematics category at the Broadcom MASTERS competition earlier this month.
For his project, Yue sought to find a low-radiation alternative to CT scans, which produce a three-dimensional, internal view of the body but expose patients to a greater amount of radiation than traditional X-rays.
In trying to develop an alternative, Yue looked to the power of the human brain. Knowing our brains are able to process images into three dimensions by combining information captured by the left and right eyes through a process known as parallax, Yue got the idea to combine two left and right X-rays to create a three-dimensional picture.
Since no machine exists that can replicate the power of the human brain, Yue wrote a computer algorithm that uses automatic computation to simulate the process. The final product produces 0.2 millisieverts of radiation. A CT scan produces, on average. 25 millisieverts.
Yue said he finds science “captivating,” especially the fields of technology and mathematics.
“I’m really interested and passionate about science, because there’s so much you can do and so many things you can learn, it really gives you the freedom to explore what you want to do and pursue your interests,” he said.
Broadcom isn't Yue's first rodeo when it comes to science competitions. In February, he was part of a team from Rice Middle School that won $20,000 at the Verizon Innovative App Challenge for designing a smartphone application to help dyslexics read better.
Yue also has also garnered success in the field of robotics. Last year, his team placed in the super regionals for the FIRST Tech Challenge, a competition in which teams design a robot to perform competitive tasks such as placing objects in a basket.
“It’s more like a sport more than just building robotics,” Yue said.
Other interests of Yue's include drawing, debate, computer science and programming.
“I feel that computer programming introduces new world where you can do what you want,” he said. “There’s no physical limitation, nor is there any environmental limitation to it. You can practically build anything you want, and there’s nothing that can stop you. I really like that.”
While Yue said he knows he wants to pursue a career in science or technology, it's a little early to say where he wants to go to college.
“I’m interested in a lot of things, so I don’t know how to narrow it down just yet,” he said.