A team of four teenagers who do odd jobs to fund their education created a robot that won the national award for best innovative idea at the very first Avishkar make-a-thon held in Delhi last week. Hailing from a public school in Chhattisgarh, which didn’t even have a computer two years ago, these teenagers have created a robot called Krishi Mitra (farmer’s friend) that is powered by solar panels. This robot can perform all agricultural activities, from seed dispersal to irrigation to a tractor.
Another innovative technology from the same school was the “cow lifter,” which is a battery-operated machine to help sick animals. The cow lifter took second place in the senior category of the national competition.
“In our village, the cows often contract diseases of the foot and it takes 5 to 8 people to tame the animal and provide it with medicine. Due to the disease, their milk production also decreases, resulting in economic losses for the farmers, ”said Prakash Nirmalkar, a 16-year-old student who worked on the project. “Our product works like a crane but much smaller and adaptable to Indian roads. He can lift a cow easily with a remote control and can also transport it, ”he adds.
The school’s third innovation also reached the national final but was unable to win any prizes. It was a cycle that could power batteries and even recharge household appliances. Gaurav Mahto, a 15-year-old, said: “Our village has power cuts of 6-7 hours a day in the summer, if we could implement this on a larger scale it could even power the fans. We can use huge batteries to save the energy generated and use it later. “
The three teams were formed in the Atal Tinker Lab (ATL) created in the school two years ago. “Our school had a huge drop-out rate since most of the students come from low-income families. Their parents make daily bets and cannot afford to pay for their education. But after setting up the lab and motivating the students to create technology to solve problems in their neighborhood, the students started re-enrolling in school, ”said Dhananjay Pandey, math teacher and director of the ATL lab based in the school, a comprehensive government high school. school.
Currently, the lab has 56 active students working to turn ideas into prototypes. “We stay in the lab after school hours to work on the students’ ideas, but that causes the students to skip hours of work; so I must also give them evening meals to avoid dropping out, ”he adds. The public school laboratory operates from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
However, funding for individual projects remains a problem. “Our project (relief) was recognized by the district administration, they had also expressed their interest in purchasing a product developed on it, but we currently do not have the funds to convert this prototype into a fully functional product,” he said. said Prakash.