An eighth-grader from the San Diego Jewish Academy won a science prize, amounting to $25,000, at the second annual Google Science Fair competition.
Jonah Kohn, 14, won first place in his age group for creating a device that converts sound into tactile vibrations, hoping to improve the musical experiences of people with hearing loss.
Jonah was picked Monday as the winner in the 13 to 14-year-old students’ category, one of five top winners in the competition.
“I was really surprised. I didn’t expect to win. It was amazing,” Jonah told a local San Diego newspaper.
Jonah’s device, which he dubbed “good vibrations,” filters sound into frequency ranges that are then applied to different parts of the user’s body — the fingers, the sternum and lower back of the neck — with various outputs.
“For many, perception of music is diminished because they cannot process certain frequencies or other critical elements of musical experience. This experiment seeks to use tactile sound to improve their experience,” he wrote about his project.
Jonah is about to start his second year at the San Diego Jewish Academy, a private school with about 600 students that is becoming known for its outstanding science program.
Several students at the school have won prestigious science competitions in recent years.