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Tapping foot power

Staff Reporter
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For a lot of people using the sidewalks during nights, the biggest nightmare will be the non-functional street lights. For, they will have to either depend on the lights from the cell phones or on blind luck to avoid tripping.

Imagine a technology that will power the street lights when people step on the pavements. Sounds far-fetched?

No, a couple of students from Maharishi Vidya Mandir School here have come out with a miniature model, which won appreciation at a regional level science exhibition organised in Chennai recently by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

The team of L. Antus Nicanor Leo, and N. Akshay, Standard X students, were among the 20 teams to be chosen from the 185 teams to represent Tamil Nadu at a national science exhibition later this year.

Their model involves placing ‘piezo sensors’ (which measures changes in pressure, acceleration, strain or force by converting them to an electrical charge) between layers of ceramic, and metal casings in wooden plate. The crystals on the piezo sensor will vibrate when pressure is applied on the plate. This mechanical vibration is converted to electrical pulses which power a small bulb.

Antus says the possibilities are limitless if this experiment is replicated on a massive scale. It can be used in cars to power headlights, or as an anti-burglar alarm for houses. It can even be used in discos to power the flash lights, says Akshay.

Antus and Akshay worked on this project for three days before coming up with a workable model. “It was painstaking work to stick all these sensors one by one. We pulled it off though as we wanted to excel in the exhibition,” adds Antus. Maharishi Vidya Mandir School conducts science exhibitions annually for its students in Standards IV to X. The objective is to encourage them to take to science.

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