On a rainy day there is always a chance of someone coming into contact with a snapped electrical cable, which could be covered by rain water. Children, the elderly and even cattle are the most vulnerable and electrocution deaths are not infrequent. J Nishanth, in the first year of the engineering course at the Sona College of Technology, Salem, has developed a prototype and a scaled-up model of a tripper that can automatically switch off the main electricity when a cable is snapped. Nishanth has applied for a patent for the device and the State Electricity Department is seriously thinking of using the tripper widely on its distribution network to make it shockproof.
Tech company Accenture’s Innovation Jockey Season Two — a search for the best innovative brains among young Indians — handpicked Nishanth from thousands of students to take part in the premium competition.
“At Bangalore, where the contest was held, the bar was set quite high this year. The challenge was to innovate the way retail, finance and public services operate with the help of technology drivers such as mobility, social media and analytics,” said Nishanth.
As many as 4,400 entries flooded in from over 300 colleges across India. Ten teams and individuals were shortlisted and they had to convince the jury that their innovations were viable through live presentations. Needless to say, the jury was impressed by Nishanth.
“It was a thorough grilling by the panel but I was made comfortable by their amiable approach. I was asked to operate the shock tripper and make a presentation. I had a feeling that I would be among the top three because I have never returned from a competition without winning a prize. But here I was not among the first three. I felt a momentary gloom but was taken by surprise by the next announcement declaring me the grand winner of the season with a ticket to Silicon Valley where I can visit Accenture’s research lab and study the latest developments,” said Nishanth.
Nishanth’s first innovation was when as a Class 1 student he made a device that sounded an alarm if his pencil box was opened when he was away. “Since then I have done 30 projects and seven have been patented. A device to remotely operate farm pump sets from mobile phones fetched me a State Government of Kerala and Tamil Nadu prize and the shock tripper got me a National Award in a science exhibition.”
The shock tripper has now been fine-tuned to send an SMS to the nearest electricity office about the exact location where the cable is snapped.