George Bernard Shaw famously said “youth is wasted on the young.” We’re taking a look at a bunch of young tech innovators who are showing that age is no barrier to achievement.

Giulia Tomasello, Co-Founder ALMA

Giulia is part of a team of four friends who embarked on a mission to create silent, comfortable wearables that help women manage their intimate health. For the estimated one billion women affected by vaginal infections every year, ALMA can provide an accurate home diagnosis of a variety of infections without an awkward trip to a clinic, empowering women and leading to genuine attitude changes.

Gregory Hitz, CEO Sevensense Robotics AG

After graduating from uni, Gregory became CEO at the Swiss company Sevensense Robotics AG. With his young startup, he believes automation has already brought great benefits to society but has more to give. They’re trying to automate more mundane tasks, freeing up our time for more pleasant things. Their biggest challenge? Making robots not just to see their surroundings but also understand them.

“The mundane tasks are for the machines and the more intellectual tasks are for the humans.”

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder and inventor of Ethereum

Around 2013, enthused after learning about Bitcoin from his father, Buterin attended a conference that convinced him to pursue development of the cryptocurrency full-time. The next year, armed with a $100K grant from the Thiel Fellowship, he dropped out of uni and went to work on Ethereum full-time. Having won a string of accolades and honorary doctorates he continues to focus on research and has donated over $1 billion of cryptocurrency to charities worldwide.

Rifath Shaarook, inventor of KalamSat

As a young teenager, Shaarook joined Space Kidz India, an organisation dedicated to nurturing young people with a passion for technology. He formed a six-person team and dedicated the next four years to making a satellite from 3D-printed plastic – a technique no other scientist had accomplished.

By age 18, Rifath and his team had invented KalamSat: the lightest satellite in the world. Just 64g and 3.8cm wide, it weighs about as much as a large battery and fits in the palm of your hand. In June 2017, the device was successfully launched by NASA and survived in space for around 12 minutes, successfully demonstrating that 3D printed components can be used in space.

Keiana Cavé, Founder Mare

Cavé’s journey of invention began with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which unfolded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. It led to the largest maritime oil slick in human history, consisting of 4.9 million barrels (210 million gallons) of oil in one of the most ecologically important bodies of water on the planet.

At just 15, she began studying what happens to oil when it’s left on the ocean’s surface and discovered that when hit by UV rays from the sun, it reacts to form carcinogenic chemicals.

Today, now in her early 20s, she’s turned her work into two scientific papers and won two patents for chemical methods of detecting carcinogens, attracting $1.2m in funding. She’s also launched a startup, Mare, which is working towards a way to disperse the toxins so that they aren’t as damaging.

For more stories about young tech pioneers, watch our Young Bright Minds series.