Becoming A Finalist

Hi everyone, I’m Shruti Sivaraman and welcome to my first blog post! In this blog, I will be talking about my journey to becoming a 3M Young Scientist Challenge Finalist!

I started DR-Check almost a year ago when I thought to myself, “What if I could detect diabetes without routine blood tests to measure glucose levels?” At the time, it seemed like a very outlandish idea, until I started doing research on the subject! I learned about how blood tests detect diabetes, but it wasn’t fast and efficient enough for my liking, taking a long time to diagnose the condition. I decided to zoom in on the topic of eye diseases related to diabetes. I made this decision because my mom and grandmother both are diabetic and had eye problems in relation to the condition.

From there I learned that diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common disease to occur in the eye due to high blood sugar levels in the blood vessels in the retina. So, I built a machine learning based software that detects DR and diagnoses the condition. I implemented an app that can take retinal images and runs the code, giving it a diagnosis. And now I am working with my amazing mentor, Dr. Kannan, to create a compact and portable way to take retinal images

This project is what inspired me to enter the challenge and in my entry video, I explained my solution in detail. I talked about the code, the website and explained my device with added pictures so that there was a visual representation of what I was speaking!

To be honest, I forgot that I was waiting to hear back from 3M! I had many music concerts to attend and perform, and tests at school to finish. So, I was shocked, surprised, and very happy when I heard that I was a finalist! My family and friends were proud and excited when I told them!

I know that I am certainly excited to get to experience being a finalist and meeting the other finalists and I can’t wait to see what I create over the summer with the tools that I’ve been given!

See you next time!


~ Shruti Sivaraman