A young inventor fights COVID

Seven year old Nikunj Sharma has what you’d call an inventive mind. When the world retreated behind closed doors to stay safe, Nikunj put enforced home time to good use, coming up with COVID safe gadgets such as a no-touch dustbin and a fully automated hand washing system.

Look, no hands

Tissues, wipes and packaging – we sure are discarding a lot of things these days. But touching a bin, even one with a pedal, that a lot of people use, could be risky from an infection point of view, but how else do you open it? Nikunj came up with an idea for a sensor-based dustbin. The sensor senses the presence of someone standing in front of it at a distance less than one feet and it pops open. Items can now be discarded without touching the bin at all. Check out the automatic dustbin –  https://www.instagram.com/p/B-sInkrFuMg/?igshid=whj6sv18agn3

bin

A smart wash

One thing we are all doing a lot of these days is washing out hands. And that involves touching the soap dispenser and tap. It’s okay to share these with your parents but riskier to use a shared tap in a restaurant or school. To solve this problem Nikunj came up with a no-contact hand wash system. Watch the video to see how this works but the idea basically involves a dispenser that squirts out soap when you put your hand in front of it and this is synchronized with the washbasin that dispenses water within 25 seconds of the soap being dispensed. That also ensures you soap your hands for the right length of time. Again, you don’t need to touch either the soap bottle or tap. Check out Nikunj’s  Fully Automated Contactless Hand Wash System (FACHS) at work –  https://www.instagram.com/p/B_AaNrhATGK/?igshid=zpk1wzjd3wgu

hw

Going about it

Clearly Nikunj has a knack of solving problems. He created a plan on paper and discussed it with his parents before moving to build phase. Although he was used to joining wires using tape, he took his dad’s help to solder wires to the sensor.

Nikunj was also into robotics and programing so writing code to programme the sensor wasn’t tough. But it did take the young inventor a week of working and re-working the programme (with a little help from his parents) until he got it right. The sensor components – an Arduino Uno 3 (Micro controller) and UltraSonic Sensor Module HC-SR04 – were bought online. Way to go young inventor!

How does the sensor work?

Both inventions use ultrasonic sensors, which work by emitting sound waves at a frequency too high for humans to hear. They then wait for the sound to be reflected back and calculate the distance from an object based on the time required for sound to return.  For example, when the user brings his hand closer to the hand wash system, the ultrasonic sensor senses it as sound gets reflected back much faster as hand is getting closer. Nikunj programmed the sensor to activate the hand washing system when the user’s hand is 15 cm away from it.