Imagine being able to generate electricity just by walking. Well now it is a possibility thanks to eleven-year-old Varshini Ramesh, who has created an innovative model with which one would be able to tap into the energy of every person climbing up and down the stairs.
Bagging the first position at the BrainCafe Budding Scientist Contest 2012, her model showcased a railway station where thousands of people use stairs. “Every stair is attached to a piezoelectric material which converts any force or strain applied into electrical energy. We can use such devices at places like airports and railways stations where people constantly make use of stairs to climb and alight,”said the grade VI student.
Some of the nodes in her model were connected to an LED, which glowed every time electricity was generated. They were also attached to a voltmeter which enabled her to calculate the amount of power produced.
Varshini got the idea for her project when she observed her mother lighting a stove. “I was curious to know how the entire thing works and soon started researching on the subject. With a single cell, I was able to generate 6V and 120 mA of power. The amount of power generated can be increased using more cells. For example, with 10 cells one can generate 60V,” said Varshini, who added that the contest provided a platform for everyone to create working models from household materials. Though this concept has been implemented in several countries, Varshini’s determination to explore scientific knowledge is commendable. “I have always wanted to be an inventor,” said Varshini.