Grandson of a farmer, Bhubaneswar’s Rishikesh Amit Nayak has created a device which can detect a bacterial attack on crops and alert farmers on the type of bacteria, potential diseases and prevention. The 17-year-old’s technology has won the best innovation price at Avishkar make-a-thon competition.
Nayak claims his invention is more advanced than the current bacterial attack detection technology used by NABARD. “While theirs gives results in a month, my invention can do it in 12 hours. My technology uses thermal imaging instead of chemical composition. A dip or rise in temperature of plants can help us detect their health,” stated the 11th grader.
The device, in the form of a stick placed on a field, will share details with remote machines and in case of a change in the field or potential threat, farmers are informed. It took two years for Nayak to work on the device, which costs Rs 2,400 and has a current repository of 24 kinds of bacteria.
“Farmer suicide due to crop failure is very common. Hailing from a farmer family, I was aware of the issue at a very young age. In 2017, when I was in class 9, I used to read a lot about farmer suicides in newspapers and decided to research on it. I found that 80 per cent of crop failure is due to a bacteria attack and while we have solutions for weather conditions, there is very little done to prevent bacterial attack on fields. I decided to work for this cause,” he said.
Nayak also won NTSE scholarship and scored over 90 per cent in his class 10 boards. Since class 10, he has also assisted students at Indian Institute of Technolgy (IIT) Goa in their research. “I came in touch with students from IIT Goa through Facebook. They were working on a research project and I started helping them at the back-end, which helped me a lot; I have continued working with them,” he said.
Currently studying computer science, Nayak has received support from Intel and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for his project. “The thermal imaging is used by ISRO and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). I came across a scientist from ISRO when I participated in their innovation challenge. They have helped me understand the mechanism behind it. Intel has also mentored the project. I am planning to file a patent for this,” he informed.
Nayak has already started preparing for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), ICAR’s All India Entrance Examination (AIEE) and aims to take admission in Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR). “Nearly 70 per cent of India’s population is working in agriculture, directly or indirectly. From poverty to inflation everything is linked to agriculture and if I research and develop reforms for the sector, it will uplift the entire economy,” commented the 17-year old.
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