School Web Desk
Chandigarh, February 15
Taking a leaf out of the year 2020 when the world was hit by a pandemic, students of Shiv Nadar School, Faridabad, (a not-for-profit initiative of the Shiv Nadar Foundation) have tried to address the concerns of contaminated surfaces in public areas through an innovation. An all-girl team of five Class X students has come up with SAFE, a self-sanitising bench installed with UV sterilising light, which can reduce the risk of transmitting infections like Viral Conjunctivitis, Influenza and Hepatitis A, besides COVID 19.
This bench works through ultrasonic sensors which automatically switch on once the user gets off, followed by an automatic sanitisation process through the UV light. Interestingly, the bench also has a QR code that gives the exact date and time of the last sanitisation process.
Given the current pandemic and the increased concerns around viral infections spreading through contaminated surfaces, the bench is an important solution for public places like hospitals, malls and parks, allowing users the comfort of safety while at rest.
The innovation is an outcome of the Capstone Project at Shiv Nadar School, where students are encouraged to ideate and devise an economically viable and creative solution to address a real world problem. It was presented at the school’s annual tech event Colloquium 2020 which happened virtually and was assessed by an external jury. It was awarded second prize in the event.
The team comprising Nirvani Jain, Arshia Jaitli, Suhani Sharma, Gurnoor Kaur and Manasi Aggarwal worked for six months on their idea to come up with the final product. Sharing their experience the young team members said, “Our motivation came from realising that creative solutions can help towards easing people’s fears of contracting the virus to some degree. For our project, we first worked towards identifying a clear problem and through our research realised that not everybody has had the luxury of staying within the safety of their homes during the pandemic. People still have to venture out to go to the hospitals or travel due to unavoidable circumstances. We also realised that a huge amount of effort had to be made towards cleaning seating surfaces in such places, without guaranteeing complete safety. Given this, we worked towards creating a self-cleaning bench that would remove the manual intervention required to maintain hygiene standards and also guarantee complete sanitization of the seating surface; ultimately ensuring safety for the users”.
Due to the lockdown, the team faced many challenges as they were not able to meet physically. However, making the best use of technology they worked mostly through online platforms like Zoom and Google meets. “Once our research was complete and we had decided on the product we wanted to create, we worked towards building the prototype online. When we finally met physically at our school to execute our idea, we knew it was going to be a challenge to convert the online framework into an actual product. However, we had huge support from our mentors in school who guided us through the course of building a working product”, adds Mansi.
The bench was designed for the Capstone Project, which is a part of the curriculum where the school encourages students to ideate and create an economically viable and creative solution to address a real world problem. Thus, the final cost of the bench came up to Rs 8000 approximately.
Talking about their future plans regarding this product, team meber Gurnoor said, “There is a lot we want to achieve in the future with regard to this product. We want to develop this bench further so that we can install them in areas where they are needed the most. We eventually want to take our bench into the commercial market”.
“The 'girl power' of the Safe Bench project is a remarkable group of our Class X, who laboured consistently to improve their design to create a prototype that works”, said Principal of the school, Anju Wal. “I am very proud of their sharp technical skills, sensitivity to deeply understand and resolve social problems, desire to contribute meaningfully and persevere to see a project to its end”, she added.
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