Students build smart helmets, oil spill absorbers for design contest
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Students build smart helmets, oil spill absorbers for design contest

Winners of KPIT Sparkle 2018 will now get incubation assistance to turn prototypes into commercial products.

education Updated: Mar 08, 2018 13:08 IST
Dipanjan Sinha
Dipanjan Sinha
Hindustan Times
The green battery, created by a PhD student of IIT Kharagpur, uses bacteria to produce electricity.

A helmet that allows you to listen to music and sends alerts to emergency contacts in case of an accident. A battery that produces electricity from sewer water. A device that separates oil from water. These are some of the innovative projects that won at the KPIT Sparkle 2018, a design and development innovation contest for engineering and science students organised by KPIT, a multinational tech company. This is the fourth edition of this innovation contest. Winners get access to incubation centres to turn their models into ready products.

The theme this year was “convenience” and the ideas were aimed at being green and easy to use. “The ideas have tremendous potential in transforming the energy and transportation landscape of the country, which is aiming to lower its carbon footprint and make cities cleaner and greener,” says Ravi Pandit, co-founder, chairman and group CEO, KPIT.

Here is a look at some of the projects and how they came to be.

Smart helmet

The smart helmet, designed by a team from Sahyadri College of Engineering & Management, Mangalore, alerts an emergency contact in case of an accident.

A two-member team, SmartGear, from Sahyadri College of Engineering & Management, Mangalore, has devised a helmet that allows one to listen to music and receive calls while riding. It also provides an accident alert that shares the location of the accident to emergency contacts in the rider’s phone, including ambulance services that can ensure immediate help.

In case of an incoming call to the rider, the helmet intimates the rider about the call and only when the rider halts does the helmet connect the call

“GPS technology embedded in the machine keeps track of the speed of the rider and ensures that he does not talk on the phone while riding,” says team member Navajith Karkera.

He says that this idea was inspired by the fact that many bikers hate wearing helmets and tend to only wear them to avoid fines. The electronic system in the helmet has been designed to be lightweight and has been placed inside in a way that it is protected from impact forces.

If the project is out in the market he estimates it to cost around Rs 2,500, which is higher than that average price of Rs 1,200, he says.

Green battery

Ramya Veerubhotla, a PhD student of biotechnology at IIT Kharagpur, has created a battery that uses bacteria to produce electricity, making it both cheap and green.

“The biobattery is made using paper as substrate. It’s biodegradable, flexible and allows multiple devices to be stacked up together,” explains Veerubhotla. “The electrodes are fabricated using readily available carbon-based conductive inks (even an eyeliner can be used). To operate the device, a user needs to inject a few microliters of wastewater containing bacteria. The bacteria then oxidise the organic content present in the wastewater, which eventually generates electricity.”

Currently, the power from the device is in the range of few micro watts. This is too low to power household applications. Stacking multiple of these (chip-like) devices can boost the power making it useful for a home. “I believe that this concept can be used for bio-electric toilets in the future,” says Veerubhotla.

Oil spill absorber

The oil-spill device separates oil from water and an attached sponge absorbs the oil, making it reusable as fuel.

As the world grapples with contamination of waterbodies and massive oil spills, Team Nanoknocks from Pune’s Vidyarthi Griha College of Engineering are working on a solution.

Their oil-spill device does not just separate oil from water, but with an attached sponge absorbs the oil, making it reusable as fuel.

“The silicon-based material, which repels water and absorbs oil, can be used in many ways, from industries and water conservation to domestic purposes. But the primary use will be for oil spills,” says Tejas Kabra, a final-year student

Electricity from a gas grill

Team Thermal from the Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering has built a device that can trap the heat emitted while cooking on gas ranges and use it to generate electricity.

“If a family uses our grill while cooking for about 2.5 hours a day, it will produce enough electricity to light a 7-watt bulb for three hours,” says Ishan Kokadwar of team Thermal

Kokadwar is a student of Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering. His device can trap heat emitted while cooking on gas ranges and can produce additional energy in the form of electricity. “This device can be installed on any standard available stoves and chulhas,” he says.

The prototype displayed at the contest can produce electricity of 15 watts. “That’s enough power to charge phones, play speakers and even light LED panels,” he says. He, however, points out that with industrial support the device can produce upto 50 watts constantly.

This device will save money for people in many ways, Kokadwar believes. “It also increases cooking efficiency by nearly 18 per cent as less heat is wasted. So if a gas cylinder lasts for 30 days then by using our grill it will last for 35-36 days.”

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 13:08 IST