Meet the Unexpected Inventor Behind This Life-Saving Device

Imagine you’re on a weekend hike, enjoying beautiful weather and scenery. Suddenly, the unexpected happens—you’re bitten by a snake. It’s not something we like to think about, but in the great outdoors, this is a very real scenario and as we all know, it’s important to Be Prepared.

If the snake happens to be of the venomous variety, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. It’s best to play it safe and get help, even if you aren’t sure what kind of snake bit you. The time between being bitten and receiving medical treatment is imperative—it can even mean the difference between life and death, depending on the species of viper.

Thanks to modern technology and an ingenious young mind, a new device has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of time between a snake bite and receiving medical treatment.

STEM Scout Anjali R., 10, explains how her device uses a thermography camera to assess snake bites. (Photo credit: The Tennessean/ Middle Tennessee Council)

The prototype includes a non-contact thermography camera that gauges the temperature of the affected area. This sophisticated device has three settings to assess snakebite injuries as accurately as possible, reporting the severity of the bite, the kind of toxin injected, and the amount of toxin injected.

 The Tennessean recently shared a video introducing Anjali R., the 10-year-old scientist behind this life-saving invention.

Anjali, who was recently named the Middle Tennessee Council’s STEM Scout of the Year, came up with the idea while pursuing her passion for medical science through BSA’s STEM Scouts pilot program.

“I would like to be a geneticist or an epidemiologist because I can work in the fields of diseases and learn about different diseases and soon find cures,” Anjali said.

For today’s young people, a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) could eventually translate into careers in STEM-related fields—a crucial element to our country’s growing economy. STEM Scouts works to encourage these pursuits by encouraging children’s natural curiosity to develop interests in STEM fields.

Anjali was recently named “STEM Scout of the Year” by the Middle Tennessee Council. (Photo credit: The Tennessean/ Middle Tennessee Council)

And these aren’t your everyday science lessons. The pilot program, which kicked off in 2013, puts an exciting spin on traditional STEM topics by engaging Scouts in activities and experiments, all while building important life skills.

 “Scouting has allowed me to develop leadership skills, work with a team effectively, and also understand others’ opinions,” explained Anjali. “I enjoy Scouting because it has several fun experiments, which I could never do at home.”

Learn more about Anjali’s life-saving invention in the video below, then head to to find a lab near you!


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Rochelle Randles is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She enjoys sharing incredible adventure stories within the Scouting community and beyond. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at