The day started early for the participants of IIT Kharagpur’s Young Innovators Program 2019 on November 9. The stakes were high, and so there was not a moment to lose. By the time the judges trooped in on Day 2 of YIP 2019, the teams were ready by their tables at the Vikramshila foyer.
And what a display it was! From live demonstration of how the green dispenser could provide water to the differently-abled, to moving hoover buses on a live model of an urban scene, a mini-model of a greenhouse that can monitor the growth of plant and fish through sensors, to actual water distillation of RO waste water through the roots of the Azolla plant, and an actual automated trolley for assistance in malls…. The 32 teams which congregated at Vikramshila left nothing to chance.
What was most interesting was the vast array of ideas and technologies that the teams brought to the table. If the DL Puram Diamonds (Z.P.H.School) from Visakhapatnam showed how simple sunlight, making its way through convex mirror, could disinfect toilets, the Biodiversity Cognizers from Saket (Amity International School) demonstrated how AI could be used to easily identify the species of an individual flower using a few trait measurements. A big draw was dengue protection kit of Team Anveshaks from the Global Indian International School of Singapore who demonstrated how AI software connected to a database could be used to identify the aedes mosquito.
There were other teams who had made clever use of technology. Team Mindkraft from WWA Cossipore English High School, Kolkata showed how using Arduino, they had devised an automatic light controller that switched off power the moment someone left a room. Precocious Pioneers from Private International School, Abu Dhabi, used passive infrared sensors to detect movement on the road in order to brighten street lights, which otherwise could be on ‘sleep’ mode in order to save energy. Team BOT (3) of Sanskriti School, New Delhi, had developed an operating system using Raspberry Pi to create an innovative voice assistant which is a mix of Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. Team Key Saviors of Keystone School, Hyderabad had used Arduino Uno to make an automatic food waste controlling and monitoring system. ‘Mr. Bot’, made by Team Shopaholics of Ridge Valley School, Gurgaon was another such project. Making smart use of robotics, the team had made a smart shopping cart specifically designed for elderly or people with disabilities often cannot go to malls. It could follow the people who are not able to carry or hold bags or help the visually impaired people in a number of ways.
The day however belonged to the six teams that got selected to the final round on November 10. They were the Kriyative Bhavanites (Bharatiya Bidya Bhavans Public School) for their activated charcoal filter to reduce vehicular emissions, Grow-it (Sanghamitra School) for their multi-level food manufacturing unit, Green Trenders (St. Arnolds School, Rourkela) for making bioplastics from yam starch, Team Innovativeloops (Brahm Prakash DAV School) for their Astron telescope, DL Puram Diamonds for their toilet and Team Divyang (KiiT International School) for their green water dispenser.
While announcing the results in the evening, Prof. Anandaroop Bhattacharya, Associate Dean, International Relations, made special mention of Team Vox Mulieribus from Delhi Public School, Ruby Park, for their innovation – Sakhi – a biodegradable sanitary pad made from natural materials. Another team from DPS Ruby Park had presented the only project on the theme ‘Financial Inclusion’ that made it to the semi-finals.
Irrespective of the results, which, of course, somewhat dampened the spirit of a few teams, the rest of Day 2 had its own delights. There were visits to the chemistry and physics lab and a workshop by the Technology Robotix Society of IIT Kharagpur.
As a member of Precocious Pioneers, Abu Dhabi, put it, “It didn’t feel like a competition. There wasn’t any tension since the contest was rightly interspersed with the robotics workshop, visits to the labs and such like.”
Tomorrow, however, is another day.