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Meet India's most innovative young minds

Last updated on: November 17, 2011 22:02 IST

Meet India's most innovative young minds

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Shalini saw that older people having problems while using a use walker as these are not flexible enough to support them while climbing stairs.

She conceived spring-loaded self-locking front legs so that when user pushes front legs on upper stairs and rear legs rest on lower stairs, so the walker will be very stable.

Shalini is one among the 32 young innovators who won the IGNITE contest this year.
IGNITE is a national competition to harness the creative and innovative spirit of school children
organized by the National Innovation Foundation.

Every year, the contest conducts a search to promote originality, creativity and innovative spirit among children.

Around 4,104 entries were received for the IGNITE contest this year, which ranged from sectors like energy, environment, transport, general household utility items.

Former president Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presented the awards to the winners.

Text and photographs, courtesy: National Innovation Foundation

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Image: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam with the young innovators.

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Mohd. Sajid Ansari
Rice grain sorting/cleaning machine
Class 7, Gurunanak School, Ranchi, Jharkhand

When Sajid would come home from school he would see his mother very hassled while cleaning the rice. He wanted to make a device, which would help his mother. This is how he created the rice grain sorting/cleaning machine on 25 December 2010.

This automatic electric machine separates broken rice grains and other physical impurities from unbroken rice grains.

At first, he faced problems while making the prototype. Inexperienced, he used 4 motors of 12 volts each and connected them directly to 220 volts, which burnt them out. Then he used 8 motors instead of 4 but those too burnt out.

Then he finally used a transformer, which started working and he could finally start working on the model. Sometimes the motor would not fit so he had to cut glass bottles to make it fit. Finally the model started coming together.

His role model is Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam and he aspires to become a scientist like him and wants to do something for his country. He says, "I want to find a solution to most problems and simplify things so that no individual faces any problems".

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Image: Mohd. Sajid Ansari.

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3. Rimjhim Baruah
Adaptable poster writer pen
Class 8, Pragjyotika English School, Jorhat, Assam

Rimjhim, while pursuing art, found it difficult to write letters with a brush, a task taught at her school.

She also found it difficult to write in a uniform size. So she came up a poster writing pen, using which one can easily write in different thick and thin strokes between a certain range (mm).

While making the pen, Rimjhim faced quite a few difficulties with the cutting and joining.

To her help, came an institution, Vision Science Academy, which has special teachers who help students like her wishing to do a creative project.

They helped her build upon her idea, guiding her in making use of different types of materials and other similar things.

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Image: Rimjhim Baruah.

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Shalini Kumari
Modified walker with adjustable legs
Class 8, Hartman Girls School, Patna, Bihar

Shalini's grandfather uses a walker to assist him while he walks. But she noticed that he could only use the walker comfortably while walking on a level surface.

Her grandfather enjoys walking on the terrace but he finds it difficult to walk up the stairs and he also finds it inconvenient to travel.

Seeing her grandfathers' plight, Shalini came up with the idea of the modified walker with adjustable legs. She has also thought of including a folding seat so that the user can rest for a while when required and fitted a horn and a light to it as well.

Idolising Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam and admiring him for his support towards children, she wants to be famous like him.

Shalini aspires to be a good doctor.

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Image: Shalini Kumari.

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Jyoti Ranjan Sahu
Device to assist low vision people
Class 9, DAV Public School, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa

Jyoti Ranjan got the idea to make a device to assist people with low or poor vision by observing the students of a blind school close to his house.

Some of them were suffering from glaucoma. He wanted to do something to help them. He then developed a system to assist low vision people in their day to day life. His system makes use of a zoom camera and a LCD.

The camera zooms in distant images, which get displayed on the LCD present in front of the eyes.

This camera and LCD arrangement is attached to a helmet worn by the person. This aids the low vision person in perception and motion.

While making this device, Jyoti Ranjan faced much difficulty as he did not get all the material he wanted. He also did not have details about software programming but somehow managed to search the internet and move ahead.

Jyoti has got this system tested at many hospitals as well, where doctors have appreciated his work and suggested him to optimise the device. He is now planning to make it usable for paralysed patients.

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Image: Jyoti Ranjan Sahu.

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Refaz Ahmad Wani and Ishfaq Ahmad Wani
Foldable water bottle, hoe cum spade
Class 10, Govt. Higher Secondary School, Anantnag,
Jammu & Kashmir

Creative twins, Ishfaq and Refaz have a number of ideas to their credit. They have thought about a foldable water bottle where the size of the bottle can be reduced by folding-in as per the quantity of water remaining in the bottle.

They have also developed a spade, the scoop of which can be rotated at the hinge to be converted into a hoe.

As young children they used to make mud sculptures of peacocks, parrots, figurines and more.

Their sister has also innovated a dish washer and has submitted it to NIF, they are hoping she can get some financial help to develop it further. Both of them wish to become scientists.

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Image: Refaz Ahmad Wani and Ishfaq Ahmad Wani.

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Shweta Sharma
Change of colour in medicine pack to indicate expiry
Class 9, Police DAV College, Jallandhar, Punjab

While cleaning the medicine box at her house one day, Shweta saw that a lot of medicines had already expired. She got worried that she or others in the family may have, at some point, taken an expired tablet, which may have caused some damage to her/ them.

She thought that being a literate person if she could make such a mistake of not checking the expiry date, an illiterate person would face even more problems. This is how she came up with the idea of change in colour of medicine pack after the expiry date.

Wanting to be a scientist, Shweta wishes to undertake something, which will make people remember her long after she is gone. She enjoys watching cricket and reads books on inventions, physics and chemistry.

She says, "My main aim is to give something to the country; I want to develop a hydrogen based fuel for my country so that we won't need to depend on any other country for our fuel needs ever".

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Image: Shweta Sharma.

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Jaskiran Goraya
Making tablets not consumable after expiry
Class 9, Police DAV College, Jallandhar, Punjab

"When a person stops thinking, he stops growing. So one must keep thinking" says Jaskiran who gave the idea of putting a layer of liquid that disintegrates the covering membrane and spoils the tablet once it has expired.

The trigger for this idea was a TV serial in which she saw an illiterate person giving expired medicines to a patient, which worsened his condition. This made her mind start ticking and she finally came up with this idea.

"When a person stops thinking, he stops growing. So one must keep thinking" says Jaskiran who gave the idea of putting a layer of liquid that disintegrates the covering membrane and spoils the tablet once it has expired.

The trigger for this idea was a TV serial in which she saw an illiterate person giving expired medicines to a patient, which worsened his condition. This made her mind start ticking and she finally came up with this idea.

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Image: Jaskiran Goraya.

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Mohit Singh
Medicine box with reminder facility, taps with different timer settings
Class 10, Delhi Public School, Sidhi, MP

 'Waste not, want not', that is the principle that inspired Mohit to innovate taps with different timer settings.

Every day he used to watch his sister use the washing machines and other household gadgets. He saw the water wastage and thought he needed to do something to reduce it.

His conscience told him that if there was so much water wastage in his house, then the community would also be wasting as much.

Mohit's second innovation came about because he often used to forget taking medicines when ill.
So he thought of putting a timer and an alarm on the medicine box, which would alert him of the time to take his medicines.

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Image: Mohit Singh.

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G Brahadees
Healthy air machine
Class 12, The Velammal International School, Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu

Brahadees noticed that the ceiling fans were not capable of throwing air to the corners of the rooms, especially if the room was bigger.

Also the available air conditioners are expensive for the middle class person. This triggered in him a thought to develop something affordable, which could fill in the gap between a fan and an air conditioner.

He further observed that in the case of an air conditioner, about 10% of the cooling was actually being used by a person while the rest was being absorbed by other articles in the room. It is also expensive in terms of cost of energy consumption.

This prompted him to make a portable 'Healthy Air Machine', which can be carried around in the house.

This is an energy efficient, cost effective multipurpose machine, which can be used for all the air related function like cooling, heating, purification, and has air curtain and spot cooling effect, which saves energy.

Additionally, it can also used for air blowing, winnowing and vacuum cleaning for domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural purpose.

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Image: G Brahadees.

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Vignesh R, Manoj Kumar, Raghav Simhan
Blind navigation system & System to detect Computer Vision Syndrome
Class 11, Padma Sheshadri BVB, Chennai Tamil Nadu

Blind navigation system with terrain mapper is a navigation system (further work is needed) where shoes can map the terrain using sensors and GPS.

This information is shared thermally in specially designed gloves worn by the blind. Their idea was inspired from Dr. Dennis Hong's Car for blind people.

After they saw his lecture they thought whether it would be possible to create a personal navigation and non-visual display, and that's where they got this idea.

Prolonged exposure of eyes to computers and television daily has given rise to many eye related problems.

Their system to detect Computer Vision Syndrome can detect the number of eye blinks per minute. It gives an alert to consult a doctor, if the number of blinks per minute gets reduced below a medically accepted limit.

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Image: Vignesh R, Manoj Kumar, Raghav Simhan.

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Pankit B Gami and Ekta Patel
Foldable & Portable multipurpose device that can be used as chair, hammock, table, stairs etc.
Class 12, JNV, Tapi, Gujarat

Space is the primary constraint in most houses in urban areas these days. A number of devices for different purpose not only add to the procurement cost but also occupy space.

Pankit and Ekta have developed a multipurpose device, which can be used in a number of ways like table, chair, stairs, hammock, rocking chair, relaxing chair etc. This device can foldable and portable.

You can even attach your stroller to it and carry both along wherever you go.

The idea to develop this device came from a sofa-cum-bed they saw in a market. They bought it as a sample to do a thorough study of the parts and also bought books on technical engineering and finally started working on their project.

Ekta and Pankit had to make three prototypes of their device to arrive at the final one.

The final prototype was made of stainless steel to make it more durable. While aeronautics interests Pankit a lot, Ekta wants to become a neurosurgeon.

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Image: Pankit B Gami and Ekta Patel.

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SM Arthi, S Vinotha and Lailaa Banu
Use of Helmet as an ignition to start two wheelers
Class 11, Government Girls High school, Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu

While there are laws preventing a two wheeler driver to ride without a helmet, yet the same is not followed properly.

A lot of deaths in road accidents occur due to this. Arthi, Vinotha and Lailaa independently thought about this problem.

They wondered if the helmet is so useful and is life saving, why it cannot be used for ignition to start two wheelers. It effectively means that until the rider has worn the helmet, the vehicle would not start.

Arthi has been brilliant in academics and has been a National Talent Search Scholar.

Vinotha gets inspired by reading about women achievers like Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi and Kalpana Chawla. A good dancer and debater, she has represented her school at various levels.

Lailaa Banu has a collection of motivational public addresses by thought leaders and politicians, which motivate her to do well for her and the society.

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Image: SM Arthi, S Vinotha and Lailaa Banu.

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Dhavala
Bed sheet squeezer
Class 7, Sagar Vidya Mandir, Udupi,
Karnataka

Who has not felt troubled while manually squeezing washed bed sheets or denims to drain out water? Seeing her mother bending to squeeze bed sheet after a thorough wash, Dhavala got worried about back pain that this posture might cause.

She started thinking about an idea to alleviate the suffering of her mother and other older people. She then conceived an idea about a simple machine, which has one fixed arm and another one with a handle.

The bed sheet or any such cloth is attached to the machine, and as the handle is rotated, the water gets squeezed out of the bed sheet.

She aspires to be an engineer or a scientist and help build houses for the poor, and help needy children through education.

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Image: Dhavala.

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SR Poobesh Gowtham
Easy car cover
Class 8, The Ashok Leyland School, Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu

Covering a car is a very cumbersome process and thus mostly people leave it uncovered exposed to the elements.

Once Poobesh was helping his friend put his car cover, which they both found very difficult to do on their own.

He then contemplated over two-three ideas and finally narrowed down to the present design. He has thought about a simple idea of using covers rolled inside a rectangular frame.

The frame is simply put on top of the car and the covers pulled out and down on the sides and, front and back. They are held to position by gear locks.

Open zips are used to join the ends of the cover as a single piece. After unzipping, gear locks are released, which makes the covers roll back into the frame.

While he was working on his model he got doubtful about the gear ratio. He asked his teacher, who got him in touch with his friend working at CNC Operation Company. Both of them are now helping him to find the correct gear ratio and with the engineering drawings.

He aspires to become an Aero Space Engineer.

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Image: SR Poobesh Gowtham.

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Chhavi Dutta

Shoes with device to calculate time spent in physical activity and regulate TV viewing time accordingly

Class 9, Police DAV College, Jalandhar, Punjab


Chhavi likes to watch television while her parents constantly tell her to go outside and play instead of sitting in front of the television.

Understanding the logic behind their suggestion, Chhavi thought of an idea of making shoes communicate with the TV in such a way that it regulates and monitors TV watching time to match the amount of time that has been spent outside walking or playing.

She says, "This way we will also be happy and so will be our parents!" Chhavi enjoys reading novels but the genre depends on her mood. When she is in a philosophical mood she reads stories with morals, else she enjoys reading horror novels.

Chhavi aspires to be a dentist or a psychiatrist when she grows up and wants to help people. She says, "There is a lot of corruption in our country and I want to help the leaders like Anna Hazare to fight corruption".

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Image: Chhavi Dutta.

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Ankita Nagarkar
Stapler that indicates pins are finishing
Class 10, St Ursula High School, Pune, Maharashtra

This problem has been faced by most of us. Every time pins in the stapler get finished, we are caught unaware. Ankita was sitting and stapling some papers one day when suddenly the staple pins finished.

Her father asked her why she didn't know that they were about to finish? He asked her to think of a way to ensure that the next time she knows beforehand that the staples were coming to an end.

This got Ankita thinking. She came up with the idea to paint the last three staple pins with nail polish. But the paint was too thick.

Then she substituted that by using a permanent marker and that worked well. This worked well and it helped in indicating that the pins were coming to an end. It saved on time, is easily adaptable and easy to use at no extra cost.


Image: Ankita Nagarkar.

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Himanshu Verma
Stroller with foldable luggage carrier and many other ideas
Class 11, Mayoor School, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh

Travelling with multiple luggage bags is quite troublesome often especially when you are travelling alone.

Strollers are the easiest luggage carriers, so Himanshu thought if a stroller can be modified so that other luggage may also be loaded. also, then it would first of all reduce the number of articles to be taken care of and secondly, will make it easier to move the luggage.

For the Ignite competition, he submitted over 115 ideas, many of which have been prototyped by him as well. Himanshu says, "I like to make working models, either for play or some useful ones, using cardboard and other materials, usually electrical". In his free time he enjoys making working models and also enjoys photography.

Himanshu says that he would like to form a Honey Bee club in his school as many of his friends are also interested in coming together to think of new and creative ideas. He says, "I want to become an electronics engineer and work in any field related to science and technology".

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Image: Himanshu Verma.

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Sheikh Sipai Farhinbanu Makbul Ahmad
Jacket that senses body temperature, blood pressure and alerts
Class 12, FD Girls School, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Amlan Anupam
Class 10, DAV Public School, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa

Both the students have thought to develop a jacket that could monitor some basic physiological processes like temperature, blood pressure, heart beat etc and store all the parameters in a digital device like a mobile.

This device then can be programmed to send an alert signal to a doctor/hospital if there is a marked deviation in the parametric readings from the normal.

Farhin has always been a good student with a keen sense of observation. She says that ideas come naturally to her but sometimes converting them into a model become difficult due to financial constraints and lack of technical knowledge.

She is quite confident of her ability to come up with a reasonable solution to any challenging problem she gets confronted with.

Far away in Orissa, two deaths in his family due to heart attacks motivated Amlan to conceive this idea. Amlan, who aspires to be an Orthopaedic Doctor, says,

"You can't get anything unless you say Yes!" That's his mantra in life.

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Image: Sheikh Sipai and Amlan Anupam.

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Satyam Agarwal, 11, BIC Inter College, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh
Priya Rawat, 11, Saigrace Academy International, Dehradun, Uttrakhand
R Laxmi, 12, Atomic Energy HS School, Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu
Arpna Verma, 10, SRKSVM, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh

System to prevent drunken drivers from driving

The four students have independently conceived their own solutions for the problem of drunken driving. One idea is that the system would be able to ascertain the alcohol level of the driver through palm contacts on the steering/handle grip.

Sensing that the driver has consumed alcohol, the onboard system is going to ask the drive some questions.

If the driver is not able to answer the questions correctly, then the system will prompt for the password. If still the driver does not manage to get it correct, the system will lock the ignition.

Another idea to achieve this is to use an on-board breath analyser to find out alcohol content in the breath and accordingly jam the ignition, if the detected range is beyond a certain limit.

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Image: System to prevent drunken drivers from driving.

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Akshay Sivadas
Class 11, Indirapuram Public School, Ghaziabad, UP
Bhama auto diagnosis machine

Akshay has thought about a standalone medical diagnosis machine that would be able to diagnose common ailments, take blood samples and give reports of the same.

The machine would also be capable of testing other basic physiological parameters as well. His idea for the Bhama auto diagnosis machine came from his own personal experience of falling ill with viral fever and trying to do self medication which did not work.

He had to eventually consult a doctor. He had to pay a fee of Rs. 800 for the consultation and said, "Paying so much fees pinched my pocket as I come from a middle class family. If I felt this way millions of others may be feeling the same way too. I started thinking and came up with this idea of the auto diagnosis machine."

The way the machine works is like an ATM machine. The person has to stand in front of it and it asks you certain questions like a doctor would during a consultation and then runs the required tests. This way it can diagnose the problem the patient is suffering from and prescribe medication accordingly.

He adds that this service would be more useful for rural areas where doctors may not be available. He acknowledges that making such a machine would not be easy as there are many technical and medico-legal issues involved.

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Image: Akshay Sivadas.

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Manu Chopra
Anti molestation device for women
Class 11, GD Goenka Public School, Delhi

'Better safe than sorry', that could be a good tagline for Manu's innovation of the Anti-Molestation Device.

He says, "In Delhi it is a known fact that it is unsafe for women to travel by themselves at night. I don't allow my sister also to go out at times because of this. Being the national capital this should not be the situation."

Manu has come up with an idea to make an anti-molestation device. This is a watch like device capable of monitoring pulse rate and nerve impulse. Any significant increase in both the parameters (due to an emergency especially when someone is trying to trouble) will activate electricity in the upper portion of the device. When the person trying to molest will catch hold of the wrist, he would get a shock that would give sufficient time to the girl to run away.

Manu's idol is none other than his father. He says that his father came to Delhi with meagre resources and with his sheer hard work today has managed a comfortable life for the family. So whenever he faces a difficult situation he thinks, "What my father would have done?" and gets the solutions with some thought.

Manu aspires to be like Steve Jobs and says, "I cannot work for someone else and I cannot take orders from anyone else so I want to start my own company!"

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Image: Manu Chopra.

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Bhanwar Malviya
Pipe cleaning device
Class 12, Babulal Shivlal Jogatar Rajkiya Uchcha
Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Sirohi, Rajasthan

Bhanwar used to see water pipes outside his house get blocked with dirt, cloth pieces etc.

They used sticks attached with iron anchors to try and dislodge the obstructions in the pipes.

But as the pipes were curved, the sticks would get stuck around the bend. So he thought of a small robot like device with brushes and water outlet, which could negotiate the turns and help clean out the blockages.

He also thought of putting a mini drill device at the front in case there were any stones or concrete that was blocking the pipes. Bhanwar realized that if no device was innovated to deal with this problem the only other solution would be to break the pipes and replace them.

With practically very little interest in sports, Bhanwar enjoys reading science books, astrology, and autobiographies of scientists. He makes mechanical and electronic models and repairs electronic gadgets out of interest. He wants to become a Mechanical Engineer.


Image: Bhanwar Malviya.

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