At times, a single evening of conversation and collective thinking can lead to interesting ideas. One that involves the changing of another’s political inclinations for the larger good or the birth of an idea for social benefit is definitely a memorable one.
After an engrossing discussion with social entrepreneur and founder of movements like Anant Vikas – Ms. Hriitu Rana, the idea of SASA came up. Expanded as Srivatsa Award for Science Application, the award is to facilitate the implementation of scientific solutions by youth scientists for society. This is aimed at those oft-localized innovative ideas that can solve simple issues such as sustainable energy solutions or waste water management. Often times, students do not have the resources or opportunities to implement and possibly market (aimed at minimal prices) the prototype or solution.
The Shrivatsa, or the Endless Knot in Buddhist imagery, symbolises the dramatic interplay and interaction of the opposing forces in the dualistic world of manifestation, leading to their union, and ultimately to harmony in the universe.
The intertwining of lines reminds us how all phenomena are conjoined and yoked together as a closed cycle of cause and effect. Thus the whole composition is a pattern that is closed on in itself with no gaps, leading to a representational form of great simplicity and fully balanced harmony. Just as the symbol, the award aims at bringing together idea and implementation, science and society in a seamless blend that works for mankind.
Some of the recent ideas presented on national fora that could be mentioned as examples in this regard (as presented in ‘The Better Indian’) are
Wheelchair convertible to crutches
S Ramakishore, Sanjay Srinivas, Tamil Selvan, Maharishi International School, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
“The idea is to have a modified wheelchair that can be folded and converted into a crutch so that it is easy to take on stairs as well use on flat surface. The three friends had gone to celebrate one of their friend’s birthday in an orphanage. They were moved by the plight of lower limb physically challenged.
Sanjay likes reading novels and listening to western music, Ramkishore likes drawing, reading novels, and playing video games. Crazy about computers, he wants to become a computer engineer. Tamil Selvan, who wants to become aeronautical engineer, likes reading non-fiction, watching animation movies and day dreaming, as he mentions.”
Low cost Braille printer
Santokh Singh and Khushwant Rai, Police DAV School, Jalandhar, Punjab
“A dot matrix printer modified at a low cost to work as a Braille printer. Both the friends once visited a blind school for a school project where they saw much of the printing work done in a time consuming manual manner. Challenged by a teacher there they came up with their own Braille printer using a dot matrix printer. Khushwant likes to play cricket and chess. He also enjoys surfing the net and making electronic gadgets like electronic stethoscope, water level indicators, LED displays etc. He wants to become an astronaut and undertake space exploration. Santokh likes learning new things.
Mathematics and Physics are his favorite subjects. He also writes poems on various topics and things that inspire him. He also wants to become an aeronautical engineer. About the Braille printer, he recalls a problem with the roller while modifying the printer.. There was not enough friction on the roller to catch the rubber tube so he and his friends used it as football for a while, which made its surface rough and thereafter it started giving desired results.”
Hilly terrain cart
Vidya Ramesh, Greenwood High International School, Bangalore, Karnataka
“Three equidistant wheels on a single axle attached to two similar sets in different planes, allowing flexibility in movement with respect to each other. Noting the difficulty people in mountainous regions face in transporting goods, in Vidya tried to modify the design of traditional hill cart.”
These are just three of the various projects that students have undertaken for devising innovative solutions for social problems. Under the SASA scheme, 5 projects each year will be selected from among the various national and international projects submitted, and from events such as the National Children’s Science Congress. These projects will be selected based on the triple criterion of feasibility, scope and marketability. Each project will be given a working capital to enhance their prototype/solution, before presenting it in front of the relevant social entrepreneurs on the board. Thereafter the marketing and promotion, keeping the key idea of making it accessible to as many people as possible at nominal prices, will be carried out. Also, self-help group funds shall be used for setting the solution up in certain villages.
It gives me immense satisfaction and happiness to get the opportunity to carry out this idea, and would urge the readers of this article to contribute to this noble cause over time.
The first round of reviews will take place in December 2015.