Catherine Wong

Catherine Wong, a freshman at Stanford University began work on mobile-phone-based diagnostic tools for developing world audiences as a high school student. She has been recognized for her research in venues ranging from the Intel Science Talent Search to the Google Science Fair, and continued related work at the Little Devices Lab at MIT. In her spare time, she continues her search for the perfect paper airplane design and attempts to fix things that she has broken while raiding them for spare parts.

Consider the cell phone. As an engine of change, it is a romantically disruptive one, a technology that crisscrosses borders and thrives on connection in all its forms – to networks, to people, to the world. Already, in areas of Africa and India, mobile phones play every part at once, bankers and pharmacists and secretaries rolled into one. In developing countries, the path of least resistance to modernization is flung up one phone tower at a time. They have taken a platform we have spent on Angry Birds and advertisements, and woven a way of life.