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Wilson To Wins U.S. Imagine Cup, Visits White House

October 21, 2010

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October 21, 2010

President Barack Obama kicked off the White House Science Fair October 18 with a visit from young scholars celebrating winning projects in a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions.

The White House Science Fair fulfills a commitment the President made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign in November 2009 to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade.

Among the winners, who came from two dozen competitions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, is Wilson To. To joined other winners on the stage as the President spoke about education initiatives designed to build up U.S. capabilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

To competed in the U.S. Imagine Cup, an international technology competition hosted by Microsoft Corporation. It challenges high school and college students to create innovative technologies that address the world's toughest problems, often centered on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. To presented his winning project in Warsaw, Poland earlier this summer. The competition drew more than 300,000 students worldwide from over 100 countries.To and his team developed a project on mobile computer-assisted intravital microscopy and image analysis technology. The technology is designed to capture and send microscopic images in the field to physicians who use the images to help them diagnose disease in children, particularly conditions related to diabetes. The product utilizes a cell phone with a special lens attachment to visualize the microcirculation in the eye's bulbar conjunctiva. The mobile device can analyze images and video sequences of the tiny blood vessels to provide morphometric and dynamic measurements for the user.

Wilson To spoke with writing intern Alyson Salmon, who reports, "To explains that the goal for his intravital microscopy software technology is 'aimed toward addressing the needs of the world' with a special interest in providing 'medical relief in third-world countries.' Though indeed a lofty goal, To says: 'The science is there. Technology is catching up” in an affordable and readily available way.

"With ambitious dreams of saving the world, To conveys genuine hopes of making an impact. He plans to develop relations with non-profit organizations and pharmaceutical companies to ensure the universal availability of his device. To stresses that he and his team are 'not trying to replace doctors,' but are simply offering 'an early detection tool' to enhance and supplement the work of doctors with and without borders. For now, To is working with engineers to develop the lens as well as working on a complementary project for next year’s Imagine Cup competition."

Wilson To is a doctoral student in comparative pathology.

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