Young ones to take centre stage at TEDxGateway tomorrow

An eight-year-old climate change activist works to salvage the planet, while two teen innovators look to improve lives through early detection of diseases

At the 11th edition of TedXGateway to be held in Mumbai this Sunday, three child prodigies will take centre stage among 20 other speakers. The event at the National Sports Club of India in Worli will see over 5,000 attendees. The Hindu chats with the three youngsters about their work, aspirations and what drives them.

Licypriya Kangujam (8)

Licypriya Kangujam

Licypriya Kangujam  

The climate change activist from Manipur has been fighting for the cause since the age of four and is well-known for her strikes outside Parliament for a climate law. She formed an organisation called ‘The Child Movement’ and dropped out of school in February 2019 to work as a full-time climate activist. “My father has been an activist. I would attend international conferences and seminars on environment and climate change because of him,” Licypriya said. She had tagged along with her father to work after the Nepal earthquake in 2015, when she was only four. “It triggered something in me,” she said.

Stating that protesting on the streets alone will not resolve everything, she said, “Therefore through The Child Movement, I visit rural areas and make people aware about the changing climate and necessary actions to be taken. We are also working on including climate change as a compulsory subject in the school curriculum. Till now, Gujarat and Rajasthan have accepted our proposal and will be adding the subject from 2020-21,” Licypriya said. She said climate change will be taught as a subject in 1,43,596 schools.

Licypriya has been trying to get in touch with ministers since 2019 to pass a law to regulate the emission of carbons and greenhouse gases. “I have also decided to launch an initiative called Green Olympics during the Tokyo Olympics 2020, to reduce carbon emission by providing emission-free transport to and from the Olympics venue, and using drone, laser and sound show instead of firecrackers at the opening and closing ceremony. Every participant will be given a chance to plant a tree,” she said.

Rishab Jain (15)

Rishab Jain

Rishab Jain  

Born in California, this innovator is a Class IX student at West View High School in Portland in the U.S. His parents were born in Ambala, Haryana. Inspired by family members who are doctors, Rishab has always been interested in medicine and science, and his curiosity led him to research on cancer diagnostics and treatment.

He has developed two techniques related to pancreatic cancer, one for faster detection and the other to improve radiotherapy treatment.

“I started working on AI in 2017. Around the same time, I visited a laboratory in Boston which specialised in pancreatic cancer. The statistics of the mortality rate due to the cancer, and a death of a family friend due to cancer in the abdomen triggered my work in this area,” said the teenager.

Rishab’s first innovation, Pancreas Detective, predicts the mutations of the cancer tissue by processing its microscopic images with the help of AI. The second, called Pancreatic Cancer Deep Learning System, helps locate the tumour in the abdomen accurately by processing CT scan and MRI images. Both his innovations are in the trial phase.

Vrishab Krishna (16)

Vrishab Krishna

Vrishab Krishna  

A Class XI student from National Public School in Bengaluru, Vrishab and his elder brother Vishwesh (18) have developed a smartphone application for early detection of amblyopia, a vision development disorder. Early detection of the disorder is key to cure it, and experts say it should be detected before the age of eight. Vrishab, who himself suffered from the disorder, remembers the difficulty he faced while writing and playing games that needed hand-eye coordination. While his case was diagnosed at the age of four, he realised that not all are lucky.

“Therefore, I decided to create a smartphone application called Kanna (meaning ‘apple of my eye’ in Tamil), which can detect the disorder by just clicking two pictures of the child, one in low lighting and another in normal lighting,” he said.

The pictures are processed through artificial intelligence and results on the possibility of amblyopia are provided immediately. “I developed an algorithm which scans the disorder’s risk factors, such as refractive error, cataract, and drooping or squinting of an eye. If the application detects any of these factors, it will notify the signs of amblyopia and recommend that the user consult a doctor,” Vrishab said.

He said the application has completed clinical validation with 1,000 children at the Sankara Eye Hospital in Bengaluru, and has a 90.5% accuracy of detection. The innovation will be available in stores soon.

A letter from the Editor

Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 31, 2020 10:51:53 PM |

Next Story