HomeGeneralThis 16-Year-Old Created New Spinal Surgery Imaging Solution Using Machine Learning

This 16-Year-Old Created New Spinal Surgery Imaging Solution Using Machine Learning

Machine learning (ML) has great potential for changing the world for the better. A young man from Colorado has recognized this potential and combined it with his passion for science to devise an innovative solution with huge potential applications in modern medicine.

Specifically, the 16-year old Krithik Ramesh has developed an ML technology applicable in orthopedic surgery. This young man from Colorado participated in this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), where his solution has brought him the top prize in the amount of $75,000.

The technology

To be more precise, Ramesh’s solution utilizes augmented reality (AR), machine learning (ML), and computer vision to provide better accuracy for screw placement in spinal surgery. This method could reduce operating time by at least half an hour. Moreover, it would shorten the patients’ recovery time and lessen the side effects that can accompany traditional imaging methods.

The student’s research on the project took about nine months. During this period, he worked with medical professionals who taught him how to interpret medical imaging. This knowledge allowed him to develop algorithms for using AR, ML, and computer vision.


“My project started because I was trying to get five star Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ on Just Dance, so learning how the motion tracking system worked was ultimately how I predicted spine behavior… Essentially what I did was try to eliminate fluoroscopy from surgery,” he told FOX31.

Fluoroscopy refers to a medical imaging procedure in which doctors look at x-rays in real time. This allows them to see where they have to put screws in the spine. However, this procedure usually takes a toll on patients, in terms of coughing, vomiting, and acute vertebral disc degeneration. Ramesh’s solution envisions surgeons wearing AR headsets that produce holograms with data from the previous MRI or CT scans. This would allow them to place the screws without the need for real-time x-ray imaging.

Ramesh is a junior at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwich Village. His dream is to attend Stanford, Caltech, MIT, Berkeley, or Harvard. We are certain these institutions have noticed his good work and he has just made a huge step toward making his dream come true.

Photo credit: The feature image has been provided by Intel Corporation as part of their press release. The photo below has been done by Chris Ayers for the Society for Science & the Public
Source: FOX31 / Intel press release

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Sead Fadilpasic
Freelance writer / journalist / blogger. Tech enthusiast and gadget freak. Guitarist. Previously Al Jazeera journalist.