Earwax: Coming To a Home Air Filtration System Near You?

It's not every day that a diving vacation paves the way for a possible technological innovation, much less one that involves earwax. Yet, that's precisely what happened for Alexis Noel. The mechanical engineering PhD candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology described her scuba diving trip, her boyfriend’s subsequent water-clogged ear, and the culprit—earwax—that kept the water trapped behind his eardrum to her professor, David Hu. In no time, the two were engaged in detailed discussions about the sticky substance. Then it hit: What more can be learned from earwax? David Hu is an associate professor of mechanical engineering and of biological sciences and an adjunct associate professor of physics at Georgia Tech.