Ever been afraid of catching someone’s cold or flu on an airliner while you’re breathing everyone else’s air? A 17-year-old Canadian teenager has invented a system to keep those germs contained.

Raymond Wang (pictured above, right) took home the top prize of $75,000 Friday in the world’s largest high school science competition for an invention that corrals germs on airplanes.

His ventilation system cuts the number of germs by 5,500% while nearly tripling the amount of fresh air in the cabin– and it only costs about $1,000 per airplane to install.

To do it, he had to teach himself the complicated science of fluid dynamics.

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Right now, the air inside an airliner circulates in two swirls, quickly spreading germs throughout the cabin. Wang designed fin-shaped devices that fit in the air inlets — effectively giving every passenger what he calls a “personalized ventilation zone” that pushes germs out of the cabin before they can spread

You can see the cabin air flow with Wang’s invention in the video below. See more winners of the Intel Fair, here.

(READ more in the Washington Post) – Photos by Intel

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