India International Science Fair: 15-year-old Jharkhand student develops jacket that helps the blind
Unlike most children of his age, Prithvi Raj isn’t interested in science experiments like baking soda volcanoes or balloon rockets. A class 10 student from Rajkiyakrit (Government) School at Garwah in Jharkhand, Prithvi has built a jacket which enables visually impaired people to walk more accurately.
His innovation won him the bronze at the 5th INSIPRE EXPO at the first India International Science Fair (IIFS) in IIT-Delhi earlier this week.
After working on the concept for more than five months and understanding the basic structure of a circuit diagram, Prithvi Raj created a jacket and a fire alarm device which would help visually impaired individuals. The combined cost of the two devices is less than Rs.1,000 ($15).
A science enthusiast, Prithvi Raj said that he had always desired to build a device which would help the blind live more independently. He said the reason behind this was he wanted to help his grandmother and uncle, both of whom are blind.
“The population of blind people in this country is greater than what we realize. At my home, my grandmother and my uncle are visually impaired. So I’ve always dreamt of helping such people. I kept conceptualizing this idea for five to six months. After that it took me merely 10 days and I made this fire alarm and jacket,” Prithvi Raj told IANS.
The jacket can be used in two ways. First, it would help a blind person walk on the streets and second to enable them to perform household chores without any physical assistance.
“This project is connected to a mobile application. Nowadays, each one of us owns a smartphone. I have attached a radio sensor inside the jacket and a vibrator indicator is attached the headset. With the help of an application in Google Play store, information can be sent to this radio sensor. The radio sensor will send signals to the vibrator. So once we select the route (for the blind person), the headset will vibrate accordingly to alert them on directions,” Prithvi Raj said.
“For instance, the left side of headset will vibrate indicating that the person has to take a left turn and the right side of it will vibrate if they have to take a right turn. If there is an obstacle infront of the person, with the help of a PIR sensor which is installed in the jacket, he/she will get the information about it. We can alter the length of detection for obstacles in this model. Not only will the headset vibrate upon sensing an obstacle, it will also provide information on alternative directions. So not only it will make it easier for a blind person top walk, it would also prevent any accidents. At home a person can be given similar indications with the help of an instrument (which looks similar to remote control),” he added, while demonstrating the working of the jacket.
Prithvi Raj has also designed a cost-effective smoke alarm which can be easy installed in households.
“The smoke alarms which are available in the market are mostly used by government or by MNCs in the country. Since their cost is very high, I have developed a smoke detector which will alert a person with the help of sound or vibration once the sensor detects ‘the temperature’ (an average solid-flame temperature of 870 degrees Celsius),” he said.
Nikky Kumar Jha, India’s youngest Paryavaran Ratna, also praised Prithvi Raj’s efforts and said that he would fund his project completely and help him make improvements.
The 'INSPIRE' Expo featured nearly 800 projects by students of Classes VI-X from all over the country. While 57 of the INSPIRE students were given awards of appreciation, the three top awards went to young minds from Gujarat (gold), Karnataka (silver) and Jharkhand (bronze).
While Oza Alaykumar of Mehsana topped with ‘Artificial Tree and Wind Tunnel’, Ananya Y.R. of Kadur in Chikkmagaluru district came second for a project on ‘Biodegradable Plastic’. Prithvi Raj won the bronze.
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