Young guns impress with Covid-fighting devices at NXP’s Young Innovator Design Challenge 2020

Emilee Geist



a group of people posing for the camera: Young guns rock it with Covid-fighting devices at NXP's Young Innovator Design Challenge 2020


Young guns rock it with Covid-fighting devices at NXP’s Young Innovator Design Challenge 2020

NXP India, the largest R&D center of NXP Semiconductors Pvt. Ltd, conducted the Young Innovators Challenge back in August to challenge young minds to put their creativity and innovation to the test. And let’s just say, when asked to come up with Covid-19 solutions, the kids came out with flying colours.

Prototypes such as the robotic UV light box, a robot that monitors body vitals, and an automated bag valve-based ventilator emerged as the highlights of the event!

Such innovation and design challenges can help young minds combine their creative-thinking and problem-solving skills, along with their passion or electronics and software design. This can also better prepare the ground to help them decide what career path to pick later in life.

About the Young Innovator Design Challenge 2020

This year saw the second season of NXP’s innovation challenge for school children and the theme was ‘Let’s Fight Covid-19 together’. Around 100 students from classes 6 to 12 participated in the challenge to come up with products that can help fight Covid-19.

Technical experts guided the children throughout the event to lend insights on electronics and software ecosystem as they developed prototypes using NXP-provided Microbit kits.

After five long months of scrutiny and filtering, 13 children were selected for the final round where they presented the live demos of their prototypes to judges from industry and academic, including Prof. PV Madhusudhan Rao, IIT Delhi; Dr Ramesh Babu, Senior VP & Head NIIT Technologies Ltd; Dr. Shivani Malhotra, Prof. & Dean Chitkara University; Srinivas Kota, Chief Scientist, CSIR Chennai Centre, and others.

The final evaluation was based on overall confidence on idea, novelty, market relevance, demonstration, time management and impactful communication, and eight children emerged victorious under multiple categories.

In the Junior category (classes 6 to 8), Swapneel Dey was awarded the first prize for creating a prototype ‘The Robotic Ultra-Violet Light Box’ or ‘TRU-VIOLIBO’ that emits low-frequency UV-C rays from a tube lamp and kills the coronavirus.

In the senior category (classes 9 to 12), Akshat Sharma was presented with the first prize for his unique innovation ‘CORONABOT‘, a robot that keeps you updated on your body vitals while keeping a check on your temperature, health of your lungs etc. and uploads the data on cloud that one can retrieve anytime including seamless integration with voice-controlled Alexa.

But the star of the show was class-4 student Kshitij Goel. The 9-year-old was the youngest innovator at the event and bagged the Special Jury Innovation Award as well as Audience Choice award in the junior category.

He came up with a breathing device ‘Sanjeevani‘, an automated bag valve mask that can act as a provisional ventilator machine for people suffering from acute respiratory diseases like Covid-19.

We got talking to these three geniuses to know more about their innovation and idea!

Kshitij Goel (9 years old): Automated Bag Valve Mask

Young genius Kshitij Goel wants to “become an astronaut and serve the entire world”. During the lockdown, he has been missing school, and is sad about not meeting friends or playing outside. But he knew that being cooped up didn’t mean he couldn’t put his mind to work.

So, during an online class, when his EVS teacher explained how the respiratory system works and how the coronavirus impacts the lungs, Kshitij got thinking.

“Global leaders like the US President and our own Prime Minister were talking about the need for more ventilators,” he says.

So, when NXP announced the second season of Young Innovator Design Challenge around the same time to solve Covid-related problems using microbit, he knew just what he wanted to make.

Kshitij’s project, ‘Sanjeevani’, is an automated bag valve mask that can act as a provisional ventilator machine to help people suffering from actuate respiratory disease like Covid-19.

When he started reading about ventilators, he came across a research paper from MIT which described how to create low-cost ventilator substitutes using a bag valve mask.

“With my device, I have been able to meet multiple specifications for the design and tests mentioned in the paper,” adds the young innovator.

Swapneel Dey (12 years old): Robotic Ultraviolet Light Box

By the age of 5, Swapneel could tell the name of a car by just seeing its headlights from 10 meters away. And by 9, he got interested in performance cars, i.e. sports cars, supercars and hyper-cars, and got to know the different components of a car and how they work.

“I aspire to create a car that will be able to completely transform the automotive industry,” he says.

The lockdown got him bored and sad without being able to meet his friends regularly, or go to school, or to the park. However, it gave him something much better.

A few years ago, Swapneel’s father got the swine flu. He became so sick that he had to be put on ventilator support in an ICU. This shook up the 12-year-old and his family and they took all precautions to make sure Covid-19 didn’t come calling for any of them.

Thus, he came up with his project of the Robotic Ultraviolet Light Box or ‘TRU-VIOLIBO’ that emits low-frequency UV-C rays from a tube lamp and kills the coronavirus.

Akshat Sharma (16 years old): AI through Robotics in Healthcare

Akshat is currently preparing for the JEE exam and is keen to develop new applications especially using AI/ML with state-of-the-art communications interfaces and platforms like Alexa, Google Home etc.

He strongly feels that more young innovators could transform the future and also wants to become a job creator to help India move forward.

“Ever since the lockdown has begun, we have felt no different than birds trapped in a cage,” says the 16-year-old. The biggest challenge for him was the absence of any kind of socializing, be it going to school or on vacations with the family.

“We also had to wait for three days to use the things coming from outside so as to make sure they aren’t contaminated,” he says. The precautions being followed made it difficult to procure certain materials he needed for his project.

On getting to know of the innovation challenge, Akshat did his own research to pinpoint where the problem lay behind the fast-spreading coronavirus.

He realized that if the Covid-19 symptoms could be identified a little earlier in people, or if we could know the probability of someone getting the disease, then it would be much easier to isolate the person and prevent spread.

“That’s how I came up with the idea of ‘CORONABOT’, a robot that takes regular vital checks of the users and predicts if the person has caught the virus so that immediate action can be taken,” explains the young genius about using Artificial Intelligence through robotics in healthcare.

This AI-based robot, which is also integrated with the voice-controlled Alexa, then uploads the data on the cloud so that one could retrieve it anytime.

We wish all the young innovators the very best for a bright future!

Read: Meet the 15 inspiring school kids who received the CSIR Innovation Award this year

Read: This 11-year-old prodigy has written a book, has a YouTube channel, and has created over 13 mobile apps!

Read: How this 15-year-old developed an agri sprayer to stop supari farmers from turning blue

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