Indian-origin girl invents cap to ensure social distancing during Covid-19; wins rave reviews

With her interest in engineering and technology, Shukla began working on the device that would keep people six feet apart. She started her work in April and a prototype was ready in June.
Neha Shukla was featured on Nasdaq for her innovation.
Neha Shukla was featured on Nasdaq for her innovation.
Updated on Aug 27, 2020 09:31 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi

As the coronavirus pandemic raged across the globe, most of the children and their parents came to terms with the difficult life that has now become the “new normal”.

But a 15-year-old decided to do something to bring about a positive social change during the pandemic. Neha Shukla applied to the ‘Girls With Impact’ programme in the United States that teaches entrepreneurial skills to young girls.

The push for Shukla was the rapid spread of the disease and that fact that people could lose their lives because of a careless mistake, of not social distancing correctly.

Watch: Indian-origin girl’s ‘SixFeetApart’ alarm wows US in Covid times

 

“I wanted to do something about it and I set out to create a social distancing device that utilises ultrasonic sensors and microprocessors to detect when a person crosses that six-feet detection range and alert the user through vibrating and beeping,” she told Hindustan Times.

With her interest in engineering and technology, Shukla began working on the device that would keep people six feet apart. And to make it useful, the 15-year-old chose a cap.

The cap beeps and vibrates when someone breaches the six-feet perimetre.

“It’s a microprocessor based device that’s embedded in a hat. Whenever somebody crosses that six feet range, the programme and the microprocessor are alerted,” explains Shukla while describing her device.

She adds, “On the inside, there’s an ultrasonic sensor, a microprocessor, a buzzer and a nine-volt battery. I coded a programme that causes these ultrasonic sensors to send out these pulses (ultrasonic waves). Now, when these waves collide with a person within that six-feet detection range, this raw data calculation is converted to a system that it would understand and hence alert the user.”

Shukla was born and brought up in the United States. She started working on the project in April and a prototype was ready in June. Shukla is now working on improving the design of the device further to make it easier to wear. “I am also working on developing a Bluetooth app that will send the same notification to your phone as well and you can keep a track of that history,” she says.

She has been featured in the New York Times and on the Nasdaq screen last month. Shukla’s LinkedIn profile described her as a student, innovator, researcher and writer.

Shukla said that she would love to come to India as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

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