In a time when rote learning is the norm, here is something that encourages you to think differently.

Learning gives creativity

Creativity leads to thinking

Thinking provides knowledge

Knowledge makes you great

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

The National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF) seeks to identify young ideators, inventors and innovators. Going a step ahead, NIF encourages children to not just study but also think, imagine and develop logical skills. In fact, this competition is also about empathy, imagination, inclusivity, collegiality, and playfulness.

IGNITE is a national competition that harnesses the creative and innovative spirit of school children. Students are invited to send their original technological ideas and innovations. Year after year NIF manages to uncover the creative talent of these children creating benchmarks for curiosity and creativity among children. This year saw participation from 282 districts across the country and 14,889 entries were received, of which 32 projects were selected.

RAVI RANJAN (VIII) and SHIV KUMAR (VI), Gandhi Madhya Vidyalaya, Patna, Bihar

Drive only if you have a valid license

Every day they heard about thefts in their area and they were annoyed because the thieves just drove away with their loot easily. For Ravi and Shiv these cases of vehicle theft in their neighbourhood or the accidents caused by people without valid licences were not just reasons to complain but an incentive to find a solution. They came up with an idea of a slot near the ignition to insert the driving licence. The inbuilt system would check the validity of the inserted card (The purchase number of the vehicle will also be mentioned in the licence) and allow the vehicle to move only if everything is in order. Such a system can also check theft.

Both of them have a lot of household chores and other responsibilities to take care of but they made time for their pet project. Hard work paid off as their project was recognised at the IGNITE awards. Both aspire to become engineers and know they have a long way to go.

RAJASHREE CHOUDHURY (V), Little Flower School, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

Two projects: Drive, but don’t talk; Ring your tune

Rajashree chose to be different. She worked on two ideas that could change lives forever. Perturbed by the idea of people taking on their mobile phones while driving she decided to do something. She designed a device for the car where the mobile phone had to be placed before the car can be started. She hopes that this would prevent accidents caused by negligent driving. She worked on a feature where you would not be able to drive if the mobile phone is removed from its designated place — either the dashboard or the handle of a two-wheeler. In other words, the driver cannot talk on the phone while driving.

Her next idea was to have a personalised door bell so you know who is at the door. The bell has unique codes that are assigned to people who frequent the house informing the residents of their arrival.

A nature buff , 11-year-old Rajashree believes in action, whether it’s shooting off letters to her principal on eco-friendly pencils or presenting a paper at Tata Motors on water conservation. She is part of a group of 100 children who have started the Jharkhand Children’s Green Club working to protect the environment. She is actively involved in Tunza, a project run by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for youth and children. Her idea ‘garbage to garden’ where waste from the kitchen is decomposed and mixed with soil and used as fertilizer was selected by Tunza and she was invited to present her ideas in Seoul, Korea.

Himanshu Jiteshbhai Parmar (X), Pandit Nehru Vidya Vihar, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

One year on…

Last year we had featured a few of the IGNITE winners. Here’s an update on what they have achieved in a year’s time.

SHALINI KUMARI (modified walker) from Bihar had invented a modified walker with adjustable legs. She has taken this invention to exhibitions in various other places and there are talks of her being featured on Zee TV.

MOHIT (Medicine box with reminder facility, water taps with timer settings): With the oncoming board exams, Mohit is yet to improvise on his inventions. He plans to add a BP monitor and a sugar monitor for disabled people. He is also planning to get this system online so that doctors can review their patients and see the results and also change their medication as and when required.

JYOTI SAHU (Device to assist low vision people): I took a year and decided to improvise it. I have made it lighter, added a navigator to help them move in all directions. In fact now the device is attached with three cameras to give a better vision and its fully automatic and programmed and under my control. I have also been selected by Intel IRIS (A Technology Invention competition that selects four to five students every year). I have cleared the first round which was at a national level and now I’m headed to Pittsburgh in May for the next round.

S. M. ARTHI, LAILA BANU and S. VINOTHA (Bike which needs helmet as an ignition for starting from Tamil Nadu): We could not work on our project because of our upcoming board exams. Although our project was featured on Zee Q, we have a few more ideas we want to work on.

MANU CHOPRA (Anti Molestation Device) Delhi: Earlier my device could only act as a shocker but now there’s an additional camera attached to the top of the watch. The camera clicks 100 non-stop photos. These photos are sent to nearest Police Station. These photos will provide proof against the criminals. An SOS is also attached which sends out four messages to four people who have been previously identified giving the GPS location to ensure quick help.

B Survesh, (X) The Hindu Colony Chellammal Vidyalaya SSS, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

An all-seeing eye

Survesh saw his visually-challenged granduncle and grandaunt face a host of problems. He came up with an idea to design sunglasses that would help them recognise people and objects independently. The sunglass has an inbuilt camera to record the image and the name of the person when meeting for the first time. The next time when a meeting with this person takes place the image processing software recognises the person and announces the name to the visually-challenged person wearing it. It also has the ability to search online to identify objects.

In his free time, Survesh enjoys reading poetry and Shakespeare and also experimenting with different chemicals. When asked about his dream project he says, “I want to create a system that will seamlessly capture images and convert them to audio in a single chain. Learning C++ will help me create a working model.”

Himanshu Jiteshbhai Parmar (X), Pandit Nehru Vidya Vihar, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Beep! If stressed

Fifteen-year-old Himanshu was very disturbed when he saw parents getting stressed with their children’s studies. Their stress was in turn passed on to the child. “I remember reading a report in a newspaper about a number of students who committed suicide because they had failed their Std X board exams. Reading this, I knew I wanted to invent a system to measure tension and mental stress. This machine would assess the degree of stress. This allows the student to take a break and unwind if the stress level is high.

Himanshu is a loner and enjoys his own company. He spends his time thinking of what he can invent next. What interests him the most is clothes! He makes sure he is always well-dressed. With his love for mathematics and science he hopes to become a civil engineer.


These awards recognise children who are capable of absurd thinking. Who knows? What seems absurd today may become a reality tomorrow! Many of these ideas might just become technologies in the future

SHWETA SHARMA (X) , Police DAV School, Jallandhar, Punjab

Send over the clouds

Poor rainfall in Punjab made Shweta realise that if something was not done they would definitely face water shortage. At the same time, she read about floods in Assam. It got her thinking that if the clouds over Assam could somehow be sent to Punjab, it would be a ‘win-win situation’ for both states. She was hesitant to share this idea as she thought that it might be laughed at. But she discussed it with her mother who told her the story of the great musician Tansen whose raag Megh Malhar was said to have the power to bring rain. Encouraged, Shweta sent her idea reasoning that “if a sweet melodious voice can bring rain, then this is also possible; maybe not today, but tomorrow”.

Shweta enjoys chemistry and physics. She also loves looking up and learning new words from the dictionary. She strongly believes that one day her idea of relocating rain clouds will click.

JATIN KUMAR BHOI, (IX) KK High School, Sundergarh, Odisha

Wear it and wake up

Jatin found it difficult to remain awake while studying. It landed him in problems, especially during exams. To overcome this tricky situation, he suggested a special shirt with a mechanism to ensure that the wearer remains awake. He also wants it to have buttons that can tell time. When probed on how he will make this, he replies, “I don’t know right now but will think of something once I grow up.” He wants to become a scientist so he can invent something new. He loves cricket and is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar.