Stepping up for society

For the last couple of months, the world has been at a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Streets are deserted, schools shut, and everyone is confined to their houses.

Even though many schools and colleges have started online classes, students have a lot of time on hand. While some are learning to cook or a new language, others have gone out of their way to use their skills, time, and resources to help the world in these tough times. Here are a few student-led initiatives that caught our eye:

Feed the needy

Two brothers from Chennai, Mohammed Abdul Salam and Sultan Abbas, travelled back to Chennai from Queen’s University, Belfast, before India closed its border. During their quarantine period, they thought about the unfortunate circumstances that some people have been facing during the lockdown. “While discussing with my dad, he pointed out that his friend had heard that a large number of daily wage workers in the Thousand Lights area were stranded, without access to food. So, we decided to tackle this and kept a target of 1,000 meals for the area. Soon, the idea took off and we have now worked for more than a month on this,” says Abbas.

The brothers have gathered a team of volunteers who help them in their daily task of buying groceries, cooking and distributing the food. “We recently tweaked the approach by serving the food directly to people using biodegradable plates, while maintaining physical and social distancing,” Abbas explains.

The initiative is partially funded by the family, and with donations from their friends. They have also managed to raise funds through GoFundMe, and by spreading awareness about it on Instagram, where Queen’s University too spotted it and helped them spread the word. The brothers plan to expand this project in Dindigul and in other areas of Tamil Nadu. You can reach them on Instagram @feedtheneedy2020.

Stepping up for society


A research team at Lovely Professional University, Punjab, has developed an interactive smart dustbin called ‘Ally’. This can be used in hospitals and medical centres for contactless waste collection and disposal, by opening its lid/flap using a sensory system, leading to a safer work environment for the frontline workers. It follows voice commands and moves along predefined paths autonomously inside a controlled environment. The prototype, which cost ₹20,000 is 3 ft. tall, 1.5 ft. wide and weighs around 5 kg.

Stepping up for society

Tracking news

Students of Mahindra Ecole Centrale College of Engineering, Hyderabad, under the guidance of their faculty, have developed a live district-wise tracker for COVID-19 cases in India. Developed by Raghav NS, Ananta Srikar, Rishab Ramanathan, Rohith Gilla, Anchit Sharma and V. Meghana Reddy, the district-wise data is obtained from credible and reliable sources such as the Ministry of Health, Pharmaceutical Technology, and reputed news outlets. A dedicated student team has been assigned to pull out information from relevant sources and update the map on the tracker after thorough cross-checking and verification. This application can also be installed as a web-app on any smartphone. The tracker can be found at /

Stepping up for society

Proximity alerts

Prabin Kumar Das, a B.Tech student (Electronics Communication and Engineering) at Lovely Professional University, Punjab, along with his professors, has developed a device called ‘KAWACH’ to promote safe social distancing. The device, which can be worn as a pendant, vibrates and glows in case someone breaches the user’s safe space of one metre.

It is also equipped with a hand-wash reminder that beeps every 30 minutes to remind the user to wash his/her hands, as well as a temperature sensor that alerts them through an SMS, in case their body temperature crosses the prescribed limit. The low-cost, easy-to-carry device comprises an LED, vibrator, controller, battery, human body temperature sensor, ultrasonic sensor, switch and a storage card.

Stepping up for society

Mask up

With the increasing spread of COVID-19, the demand for masks has escalated rapidly, and countries across the globe are grappling to meet the demand while ensuring the safety and protection of healthcare professionals.

Experts at the AUTODESK Design and Innovation Centre, Innovation Labs at Dayananda Sagar University (DSU), Bengaluru, have come up with a Face Shield, which is an important part of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE,) required by healthcare professionals. It involves two components: support with quick attach-detach points to rest on the forehead of the user, and a transparent film that protects the face of the user from the viral load. Based on the design, several units have been 3D printed by the DSU team and released to doctors for evaluation.

The product was developed by Vinayaka K., Manager, Autodesk Design and Innovation Centre, DSU; Dr. Suryanarayana, Professor, Aerospace Engineering, DSU; and Ajay P., student, Automobile Engineering, DSC.

Stepping up for society

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 12:53:59 AM |

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