Teenager wins $75K for machine learning spinal surgery project

A Colorado teenager has won $75,000 for his machine learning and computer vision project that helps orthopedic surgeons improve the accuracy of screw placement during spinal surgery.

The prize money was awarded to Krithik Ramesh for his entry in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. More than 1,800 young scientists from 423 affiliate fairs and 80 countries, regions and territories participated for the Gordon E. Moore Award, named after Intel co-founder and scientist.

The method that Ramesh came up with can cut orthopedic surgeon’s operating time by at least 30 minutes, according to his tests. In addition, it can reduce physical therapy recovery time by four weeks and lessen the negative side effects associated with the use of traditional medical imaging, according to a press release.

The science fair awarded 600 finalists, including best of category winners for 22 categories. Approximately $5 million in prize money was awarded this year.