Friday, February 19, 2010

15 year old Indian student's idea clicks at Stanford

New Delhi: Think out of the box. This is what 15-year-old Sarojini Mahajan realized after her idea of using human pulse to charge a cell phone was picked up by Stanford University.

Sarojini, a class IX student of St Mark's Senior Secondary Public School, Meera Bagh, had sent her idea as an entry to IGNITE 2009 - a nationwide contest of innovative ideas. Though she won a consolation prize in the contest, Stanford University has decided to work on her idea.

According to Professor Anil Gupta, Vice-Chairperson, National Innovation Foundation (NIF), which conducts IGNITE every year, Stanford University has already given a token amount of $1,000 to develop a prototype if feasible. Professor Gupta said, "The girl has provided the idea. But we need technical assistance to make it work. Stanford University has come forward to try out if human pulse can be used to charge an e-book they have developed."

After hearing this news, Sarojini said, "I can't believe it's true. I had thought of this idea last year but never told anyone till Neena ma'am once asked for crazy ideas in the class. It was just an idea which has become so big now. Sarojini recalled that she was just sitting once when she thought of watches that run on the human pulse. I wondered if mobiles could be charged using the pulse too." Neena Punj is Sarojini's teacher and guide.

Sarojini teamed up with her teacher to develop her idea further who had by then decided to send her entry to IGNITE this year. They both worked for nearly four months and conceived a charging system in which sensors would be placed on the cell phone. Holding it in hand in a particular way would charge it using the heat of the palm. Sarojini's recognition has got other students thinking too.

Punj said, "Students have a lot of ideas and some of are absolutely crazy. Many of them will be motivated to share them now. I have already started getting new ideas from students."

Anjali Agarwal, Principal, St Mark's Senior Secondary Public School, agreed with Punj and said, "Sarojini has been a topper in class and though she loves science, she neither wants to become an engineer nor a doctor." "I may become a scientist but I have yet to plan," said Sarojini.

All those students, whose ideas have been selected, will be awarded by President Pratibha Patil on November 18. IGNITE is being organized since 2007 across the country in partnership with the CBSE. This year, it was organized between April 15 and September 15. Gujarat-based NIF (National Innovation Foundation) received 1,344 entries from 21 states. But out of all these, Sarojini's idea generated in the classroom may eventually turn into an invention. Professor Gupta said, "We were already in touch with Paul Kim from Stanford University who wanted us to have a competition to find the joyful ways of charging their e-book. We told them that we already had such an entry and they agreed to take it up."


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