Photo of former Linda Hall Library Shipman Award winner, Erin Smith, showing her FacePrint app.

Former Shipman Award Winner Erin Smith Granted 2022 Young Inventors Prize by the European Patent Office

Erin Smith, a former Shipman Award Winner, was recently awarded the 2022 Young Inventors Prize from the European Patent Office for her app, FacePrint. Prior to receiving global recognition, Smith competed in the 2018 Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair, where she was awarded the Joseph C. Shipman Award from Linda Hall Library.

The Shipman Award, named after the Library’s first director, is awarded annually to a student whose mastery of scientific writing is demonstrated in a paper or project at the science fair.

"I am grateful and excited to receive the European Young Inventor Award,” Smith said when speaking to the Library. "It was a truly amazing moment to win the award, and it means a lot to me and all of the people with Parkinson's disease who have worked with me to develop artificial intelligence technologies for Parkinson's disease.”

Smith first got the idea for her app after watching a YouTube video of Parkinson’s patient Michael J. Fox expressing a trait known as “mask face”. Mask face is a common symptom in Parkinson’s patients that can result in a mask-like expression that appears to lack emotion.

The award-winning AI-powered app records facial expressions to accurately detect minute indicators of early-onset Parkinson’s. The FacePrint app can now detect Parkinson’s with 95% accuracy.

Looking ahead Smith said, “In the future, I plan to continue my work to build a future of neurological health that is objective, personalized, and preventative.” The Library is delighted to see Smith continue her passion for early detection and prevention of neurological and psychological disorders and looks forward to her future achievements.