QUEEN'S ROAD: You might soon be able to escape traffic by purchasing a device worth `400. Developed by a 14-year-old boy and his team of four from the Airforce School in Hebbal, the device called the LPS (Local Positioning System) was entered in Teenovators 2014-15, a competition organised by the Manipal University.
“There are a lot of traffic jams in the city every day. In order to solve this problem, we need to transmit the traffic information to the drivers who are about to enter, or will be crossing the congested roads. And so we wanted to come up with a solution using phones,” says S Sriram, a student of Class 10.
“You can use the GPS for traffic updates. What we wanted to do is to create a device which does not use the GPS as not everyone uses a phone with GPS,” he says.
The LPS is a small antenna which is plugged to an LED bulb. It uses radio waves to detect the amount of traffic on a street. “It is very simple, every car has one mobile phone in it and all mobiles emit radio waves. So if the number of vehicles increase on a road, the number of mobile phones also increases, resulting in greater density of radio waves. What the LPS does is pick up the radio waves. So the LED bulb will glow accordingly. If the waves are stronger, the light glows brighter,” he explains.
Revathy G, the teacher who mentored the team, says, “Building the device costs `40. It is on a very small scale as of now and has a range of two feet. We are building a bigger antenna and are also trying to make it unidirectional. The upgraded device might cost between `300 and `400. Teenovators has given a great platform for these kids to showcase their talent.”
Another school that has entered the final round of the competition is Poorna Prajna Education Centre in Sadashivnagar. A team of five has come up with a way to tap radio waves and convert it into electricity.
Ask their mentor Lalitha Shinde on how they came up with the idea and she says, “We had a chapter on alternative sources of energy and one of the students, C S Bahushruth from Class 10, came up with the idea. He then explained it to his physics teacher who helped him build a device to tap radio waves. We thought it was the best project to enter the competition as it is provides a clean source of energy.”
The yet-to-be-named device has an antenna which is soldered to a square board and some aluminium foil. “Micro waves emitted from mobile phones and radio waves have not been tapped in our country. They are available everywhere free of cost. I wanted to come up with a way to tap this energy,” says Bahushruth, who aspires to be an automobile engineer one day.
“Right now, the device can light up a small LED bulb. It cost me just `26 to build it. I plan to make it bigger soon, and it should be able to charge a mobile phone or heat up an oven. Then, it might cost `300,” he says.
About the contest
Teenovators is an inter-school science innovation competition conducted by the Manipal University. This year, over 350 schools had participated in the competition, out of which 10 have been shortlisted for the final round, which will be held at Manipal University on Wednesday.