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Summer School in News

At a time when most of the student population was either 'chilling with friends' or vacationing with the family, 61 students from various colleges of the country decided to exercise their grey cells and provide better alternatives to farmers and tribal groups. These students attended a summer internship at the Grambharti Campus near Gandhinagar where they took up challenges based on sensor applications, mechanical engineering and mobile applications. The internship was organised by Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) — headed by Anil Gupta, former faculty with Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad — with Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network in collaboration with UNICEF and FAB LAB of National Innovation Foundation [NIF]. Sensor-based challenges Community warning for wild boar/nilgai/monkey vandalising crops Plough depth sensor for bullock-drawn plough and tractor/power tiller Sensor for animal health monitoring 􀁺 Sensor-based probe to measure micronutrient level in agricultural fields Sensor for early detection of toxic gases while digging well Mechanical engg-based challenges In situ water purification based challenges Special shoe design for salt farmers Device for castor plucking, storage and collection Low cost option for freezing sitaphal pulp Cold press oil extractor (manual, household, no electricity) Temporary shelter design for salt pan farmers Mahua (Madhuca longifolia) nut cracker App-based challenges App for field trials - photo sharing based feedback on monitoring crop health, varietal status, and other parameters at different stages of crop or animal growth Honey Bee Network (HBN) App Innovation Submission and Review System Temporary shelter design for salt pan farmers Team: Aniruddh Omprakash, Dar Parvaiz, Jaswant Meena, Meru Vashisht, Shyam Jesalpura "We were briefed to design homes for salt farmers such that the cost of building would be reduced in the following year. For this, we visited the salt pan and farmers living in villages nearby to understand their requirement. When analysing the architecture of the shelters they live in, we realised that the homes, made of mud, were built into the ground to keep it cool. However, during monsoon the houses would be filled with water," said Meru. This prompted the team to create new shelters in which they ensured "that the pile of mud outside the house doesn't allow water to seep in by the use of a polythene layer on the outer wall to prevent water, wooden steaks and mud to hold the wall. To improve ventilation, plastic bottles were placed at strategic locations in the wall." The house could be built in just Rs 2,500. Sensor-based probe to measure micronutrient level in fields Team: Iftak Hussain, Abhishek Dubey, Shubham, Aabhas Kedia, Bodhisattwa Sanghapriya being rewarded after the internship Creating a device to help farmers detect the presence of micronutrient levels in soils, their measurement and the value, the students made sure it cost less — Rs 1,000 — as opposed to similar existing equipment that costs a whopping Rs 50 lakh. "The biggest challenge was to develop a testing device that provides accurate results to know soil health. So we made a spectrometer that can be used by the farmer to identify the level of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the soil. Farmers can also learn the salt content and moisture level in the soil. Our analysis states that we have reached an accurate forecast in case of phosphorous," Dubey said. The team had visited Amrapur village near Mansa, Gandhinagar, to identify issues faced by farmers. Read Also: Fee regulating Act valid: Guj govt to HC Manual cold press oil extractor Team: Aadil Ahanger, Raj Faldu, Dharmish Kadchha, Foram Chandarana During a field trip to Udaipur to understand the challenges faced by the tribal groups, this team of students met a forest officer who informed them that the tribes would pluck a variety of seeds available locally and sell them. "The officer said the tribal group would earn more money if they could extract oil from the seeds and sell them. This prompted us to design a manual primary crusher that crushes the seeds and sends them to screw press-technology used in extracting oil," said Foram. The idea was to make a cold press to retain the seed's nutritional value. To meet the deadline, the students made the equipment using hydraulic jack. App for field trials and pest control Team: Sushrita Yerra, Sai Siddartha Maram, Kamal Gupta According to Sai, the mobile application was developed to help scouts collect croprelated data faster and also help farmers find a solution to pest-ridden crop. "Until now, scouts responsible for collection of samples for data would visit farms at regular intervals. They would manually enter the data for each variety of crops. This would be done for thousands of farmers across the country. The process was time-consuming and difficult for employees involved in maintaining data through excel sheets. Our app is aimed to ease this process and provide real-time suggestions for pest infestations and other abnormalities," the student said. The app provides farmers the facility of taking photos of the pests and sending it to experts via the app for a solution. Sensor for early detection of toxic gases while digging wells Team: Ratan Das, Neelanjana Paul, Ayush Jain, Shreyasvi Natraj On an average, a salt farmer digs 10 to 15 wells of approximately 15 feet depth each during the salt-farming season of which, only two to three have water for salt panning. This digging is done using a hand hoe and often exposes the farmer to hydrogen sulphide which is poisonous. "We decided to create an electronic circuit that would warn the farmers of the presence of gas," said Ratan, "The system uses a paper sheet dipped in copper sulphate solution. This is kept with the electronic circuit in a yellow box. In presence of hydrogen sulphide, the paper sheet changes colour. The colour change is detected by the circuit and a buzzer rings thus warning the farmer." The team said the device can be made in around Rs 100 making it economically viable for farmers.

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