(Image source from: BBC)
An Indian descent teenager from Ohio, United States, generated a tool competent of conveying electricity in an affordable manner to underdeveloped countries.
The 15-year-old Manasa Mendu earned the title of "America's Top Young Scientist" in the year 2016 among a group of ten finalists, in a national science competition organized by the 3M company and the educational organization Discovery Education for young scientist talents in the North American nation.
Reason behind the idea of inventing
The thought of inventing something to take electricity to remote places come about during a family holiday to India where she saw thousands of citizenry for the first time surviving day in day out without electricity, said Mendu.
The outcome was a device that gave the name Harvest that lets to acquire renewable energy for just $5.
"For a fifth of the world's population, darkness is a permanent reality," Mendu told the BBC. "I wanted to change the situation." In India, there are nearly 50 million families without electricity. But Maanasa came up with a solution.
She said: "The ultimate goal is to implement Harvest so that people all over the planet, especially in developing countries, can have access to electricity."
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The system she created acquires energy through from current, downfall, and sunlight, through solar cells.
"I started experimenting with a piezoelectric effect, which is a phenomenon of energy gathering," Mendu explained.
Piezoelectric materials allow converting mechanical tension into electricity, and electricity into mechanical vibrations.
Maanasa says that the device works by applying a sort of mechanical tension. To create it, she was motivated by the operation of the plants and included "solar sheets" capable of absorbing vibrations.
"Harvest was not, without a doubt, one of those moments when the lamp is turned on," said Maanasa. "I thought: What if we could apply an effect not only to obtain direct mechanical tensions, such as fingerprints of people but also indirect ones, like the wind itself. And that's when I decided to use the piezoelectric effect with the wind."
The system has several uses: "It can be used for solar panels, as a way to integrate renewable energy in urban areas ."
The goal of the young woman is to make her project commercially viable.
She added saying: "Having more materials can increase the production of electricity and make it more scalable (with more growth options)."
"The next challenge is to raise funds and make them grow, and find that perfect partner to make sure it really reaches people, " she adds.
"At the beginning (2016), Harvest produced very little energy, at that time, I could have easily surrendered, but I did not despair because I wanted to create something that could be practical and useful for people."
Answering the question regarding her advice to other inventors ?: "Fight for it. "
"Sometimes we face many problems, we may not have confidence in ourselves, others may not trust our inventions."
"But the most important thing is that you have to believe in your idea and, at least, try it." Either create a prototype with constructive materials or design the sketch of an idea. I think it's very important to try your luck because you never know if you can make a difference. "
By Sowmya Sangam