Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Jun 15, 2002
Science & Technology
Industry & Economy - Science & Technology
These scientists start young
NEW DELHI, June 14
GUESS what Akshat Singhal, a high school `scientist', is doing this summer? A paid internship with Agilent Technologies in New Delhi. Seventeen years old and in Class 11, Singhal may be one of the youngest interns a computer major has taken on, but this is the award he won at the Intel International Science Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) this May at Kentucky, US, for his computer science project.
Jaipur-based Singhal has created the Intelligent Document Management System (IDMS) software that helps in organising documents in standard word processing software for easy accessibility and better storage for a small office environment. "This has been the most wonderful opportunity of my life," he says.
Among the Indian contingent of eight, the other project that earned best category and honourable mention awards was on the application of eco-friendly natural dyes on natural fibre. The project has been executed by Mumbai-based Srushti Mukesh Shah (15 years) and Shraddha Mangesh (14 years).
The two young scientists attempted to substitute banned hazardous synthetic dyes by eco-friendly natural dyes such as turmeric, indigo, henna among others in the dyeing of natural fibres.
Some of the other entries were equally innovative. Young Vaibhav Kapur's project was an experiment in discovering whether the ancient, rural Indian practice of smearing walls and courtyards with cow dung had any scientific basis. His conclusions proved that cow dung may possess bacteriophages that contribute to its anti-bacterial properties, which may be effective and eco-friendly in controlling bacterial leaf blight in paddy.
New Delhi-based Anupama Bhadoria and Chetna Dudeja's have created bags as strong as polythene using bio-degradable material. The two Class 10 students used leaves of the Peepal (ficus species) and Palash (butea monosperma) trees for making their fibre bags. "We hope our eco-friendly discovery reaches the market some day," say the two of them.
Madhav Pathak's engineering project could be a blessing for the disabled. He has modified the Braille slate to make writing easier for the blind. He explains that the Braille invented script is in the form of elevated dots on paper. The person first learns to read by palpation and then learns to write. The writing is in the form of punching in the Braille slate, with the help of a stylus. The imprint has to be created in a reverse manner; that too from right to left, so that the final output in the original can be read from left to right.
Pathak realised that it is very tedious for the blind child to memorise more than 300 combinations while writing in the opposite way. So, he modified the Braille slate in a way that when the person punches the stylus, the paper placed below elevates and comes up in the form of a dot.
Last but not the least, is Rahul Shah's computer breakthrough. He felt that storing critical information in digital format on personal computers made it vulnerable to misuse. He developed a method to encrypt information and store it as an image.
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