Life Pre and Post YTS!
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the YTS program has immensely helped me shape my trail of life. The two weeks I spent at YTS were a significant part of my life that taught me the actual meaning behind the words ‘Be the change you want to see in the world‘. I learnt the significance of the role technology plays in the world, and the way it caters to the needs of a diverse set of people, each of whom has a different perspective.
A few months before attending the YTS program, I participated in the ‘Young Innovators’ Program’, which is a national-level science competition conducted by IIT Kharagpur. I, along with my two teammates, secured the first place in that competition. We invented an automated oil detecting and collecting machine that would help remove oil from the shallow waters near the coasts. Our method turned out to be highly cost-effective as compared to the technology being used at the time. This technology being used presently was also inefficient in solving the Ennore oil spill issue, the destruction caused by which had inspired us to come up with this new design. We named our autonomous device as “Olesalvo”.
Our model basically consisted of a trapezoid-shaped tank fitted with an infrared proximity sensor, two wheels for locomotion, and the motor circuit. Once the sensor detects the black colour of the oil, the motors get switched on and the tank gets filled up with the mixture of oil and water. Once the tank reaches its full capacity, the wheels rotate backwards and the machine floats back to the shore. As water is denser than oil, it settles at the bottom of the tank, and can be pumped out through an outlet pump. This device is exclusively designed to work in shallow waters. The fact that we used an infrared proximity sensor that can only detect the presence of an obstacle to detect black colour was an innovation in our project.
However, the reason behind the creation of Olesalvo was the competition, and not our passion for technology and research. As a result, once we won the competition, I never thought about the future prospects of the device or further improvements that could be made to make it commercially feasible.
Little did I know at the time that the YTS program would very soon strengthen my passion for research, and help me adopt a different perspective.
Post YTS, we began a thorough research about oil spills and the problems our device might face during practical usage. The hands-on sessions and the interdisciplinary coursework I attended during the YTS program had prepared me well to take on this research. The practical knowledge I gained during the YTS program enabled me to come up with an improvised design for Olesalvo. We even applied for a patent for our device!
In the beginning, I was highly pessimistic about getting the patent because the long procedure of the patent application had to be completed within a month. But my passion for technology gave me the power to endure the endless trials and failures I faced during the process.
In the end, all our hard work in the laboratory, endless programming till 2:30 am into the nights during the process, and the incessant trials and failures every single time a sensor went off or the IC burned out or the relay system malfunctioned bore sweet fruit.
I’m ecstatic to announce that our patent has finally been approved!
It is a moment of pride and exhilaration for me. I’m extremely grateful to YTS for intellectually stimulating me and grooming me into a person with a true, genuine love for science.
Lakshmi School, Madurai