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Out of the box innovations at science meet

By Shweta Sharma, Jammu, Feb 4 : An urge to help the disabled led a 13-year-old to create a "multipurpose crutch" - which has a torch, a horn, foldable planks that can be used to sit or create a table and an umbrella holder. The teenager was among many students at a science meet here showcasing various solutions to the country's problems.


"On seeing the physically challenged walk on crutches, I used to think about their mobility problems. Also, the restrictions they have to comply with in crowded areas, and how they cannot sit after a long day of walking," Keshav Kashyap told IANS.

In his bid to help the often-neglected section of the society be at par with others, Kashyap, a Class 10 student of Iqra Secondary School in Rajasthan, created his multi-function crutch.

"It cost me Rs.250 to make this wooden model. Using the horn, the disabled can alert others on roads, use the umbrella when it rains, and easily sit and eat their food at a convenient place using the planks attached to the crutch," the teenager said.

Like Kashyap, many students from over 40 schools from across India are participating at the ongoing 101st Indian Science Congress here.

The shortage of energy in rural areas led Sanal Roy and his team to create a pollution-free, inexpensive and easily accessible "Portable Biogas Plant".

"Our project is a prototype mini biogas plant which works with vegetative biomass and kitchen waste as raw material. With two kg of kitchen waste as feed, the plant can release about two cubic metres (or 2,000 litres) of biogas," Roy, a Class 8 student of Dhanbad Public School, told IANS.

Explaining further, Bandita Majumdar, a science teacher at the school, said the idea germinated after a survey near Govindpur village area in Dhanbad.

"On visiting the area, we realised that women burn coal to prepare their meals. Coal is extremely harmful and can cause a number of respiratory diseases, apart from causing air pollution," she said.

The biogas model is cost efficient and can be prepared at a price of Rs.3,000-4,000, she said.

With the exhibition centre brimming with activity, and students busy explaining their models to inquisitive onlookers, 14-year-old Shivali Parik was eagerly looking forward to explain her concept to this IANS correspondent.

"Our team intends to use banana peels for the production of bio-plastic as a replacement of the traditional petroleum-based plastic," said Parik, a Class 9 student of Aditya Birla Public School in Madhya Pradesh.

With the "Energy Conservator" project, Parik and her friends intend to conserve energy, and use renewable raw material that is eco-friendly in nature.

"We used starch of the banana peel, and soaked it in some chemicals and additives to create the bio-plastic. With the help of our teacher and further surveys, we realised that banana peels (and many other renewable biomass) can be used for production of bioplastic on a commercial scale," she told IANS.

Parik hoped that the idea gets implemented soon and helps reduce the use of "harmful" plastic in the country.

Harmanpreet Kour, a college student visiting the exhibition, said the students were making an effort to find a solution for the problems that plague the country.

"I have learnt so much talking to these children here. We adults just complain about the problems and let them be. These children are actually making an effort to battle the problems," she said.

"I am happy to have come here and meet such talent," she added.

(Shweta Sharma can be contacted at shweta.s@ians.in)

--IANS (Posted on 04-02-2014)

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