A robot to clean your drains, an alarm to water plants and a smart glove were among 100 innovations at Maker Mela, 2017, held at Somaiya Vidyavihar between Jan 13 and Jan 15. “The platform is designed to encourage the makers community in higher education,” says Dr Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India and the secretary to the Government of India. “It gives students a chance to invent things, showcase them and collaborate.” We discuss a few inventions from the mela in detail.
Make calls without headsets
Imagine using gestures to make a phone call. Hemkesh Agarwal, a 16-year-old Class 11 student from New Delhi has found a way to do it with his invention, Behold, a battery-run glove with an inbuilt speaker and microphone. “Gestures like counting on fingers are translated to dialing a phone number on the device.”
Behold lets you dial a number and send a voice message. “The fingers of the glove are fitted with metal buttons which are connected to the circuit,” he explains. Agarwal hopes his glove can help the visually impaired.
Get pinged for watering plants
When remembering to water her balcony garden every day became difficult for Pallavi Khabale, the 20-year-old, third-year industrial electronics student at KJ Somaiya Polytechnic, Vidyavihar, turned to technology for help. Her system assesses various conditions like temperature, pH and irrigation. “Sensors send that information to a microcontroller,” she says.
The result? A text message on the gardener’s phone at just the right time. If your green thumbs are too far away, “it can also operate the water and fertiliser supply and ventilation fan,” says Kushal Thakkar, 20, a classmate who worked with Khabale on the project.
They plan to modify the project for irrigation companies. “We also want it to be used to enable unmanned farming,” says Thakkar.
A solution to manual scavenging
Getting into sewage pipelines, inspecting and cleaning it is inhuman, believes Rohit Kashyap, 19, a third year electronics engineering student from Vivekanand Education Society’s Institute of Technology in Chembur.
So, with three other students, he designed SAPER – Semi Autonomous Pipeline Exploration Robot. “The robot can fit into a pipeline of any size and can detect clogs, cracks, the presence of harmful gases,” he says. They plan to expand this project after studies, and approach the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to help design an affordable alternative for the city’s sewers.
Breathalyser made affordable
When Shubham Pareek, 19, a third year engineering student from K J Somaiya College of Engineering, Vidyavihar, read that Mumbai Police had purchased breathalysers for more than Rs 60,000 per piece, he was shocked. “We decided to make one for less than Rs 10,000,” he says.
Their device, Alcalyser, has a sensor that sends information to a computer. The GPS co-ordinates and photo of the person are uploaded into a database so authorities know who frequent drunk drivers are. “We plan to add features like booking taxis for people who are drunk,” says Pareek.