If we were to ask you, to name some geniuses and changemakers, you’d probably think of names like Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawkins, or Dr. Abdul Kalam. We all have a certain idea of people who bring about a change, especially that of them being highly educated and well into their adult life. But what if we told you, some geniuses don’t need to wait that long, to make an impact? Spread across India, are several child prodigies, who challenge the world’s perception of extra-ordinary achievers. Just as diverse as the country, they come from different backgrounds and experiences, but the one thing that they all have in common, is the drive that earned them a place that millions work years for. Here’s a look at some child prodigies in India making a change, and what we can learn from them.
Anang Tadar – Goggles for Blind
To be an empath is one thing, but to go above and beyond, and make a difference, is another. A few years ago, when in high school, Anang Tadar from Arunachal Pradesh, came across a blind woman asking for directions. It’s then that he realised how difficult life was for the blind. This contemplation led to his invention “Goggles for Blind (G4B)”. G4B uses ultrasound and infrared sensors, to help the blind detect obstacles in their path. Born to farmer parents, Anang was considered mediocre in school. However, his invention made the country sit up and notice him. Hailed as a tech genius now, he has since been recognised and awarded several times for his work.
Aman KA, and A U Nachiketh – Eco Friendly Rubber
At an age when children learn about the damage our products and inventions have on the eco system, Aman KA and AU Nachiket from Mangaluru, went a step ahead, and came up with an eco friendly invention. As part of a regional science competition, the boys made eco-friendly rubber from Bimbili fruit. When their initial attempt at developing a preservative from the fruit failed, they didn’t lose heart. Instead, with the help of their parents, and continuous experimentation, they learned that Bimbili juice could be used to make the process of making rubber sheets eco-friendly and cost effective, while also of superior quality.
Amar Sathwik – The Youngest YouTuber who coaches UPSC aspirants
This 13 year old son of a government school teacher, is amongst the youngest Youtubers of India. Through his channel “Learn with Amar”, he helps UPSC aspirants prepare for the exam. While it may sound too good to be true, more than two lakhs subscribers of his channel, stand testimony to this child genius. Amar’s tryst with geography, started at the age of five. Seeing his interest in the subject, his father started teaching him geography. He eventually learned several hacks from his father, and a candid video of Amar teaching geography, laid the foundation of his YouTube career. A UPSC aspirant himself, Amar plans to expand the channel with economics and political science lessons in the future.
Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai – Cost Effective Water Purifier
Sometimes the biggest problems have the simplest solutions, and Lalita Prasida’s model in the Goole Science Fair 2015, held in California, stood testimony to this idea. Awarded for Excellence in Science and Innovation, Lalita’s method was to clean waste water, using cost effective, waste corncobs. Prasida discovered that corncobs could collect contaminants like detergents, salt oxide, particles, oil, grease, and even heavy material. Her model won her a $ 10,000 prize money. Prasida was mentored by Google, to build a project on the method, as part of which, she used waste corncobs, to purify domestic and industrial waste water.
Akash Manoj – Saving Lives Through Silent Heart Attack Detector
Silent heart attacks, often end up taking thousands of lives, especially in India. When his grandfather passed away of a silent heart attack, Akash Manoj began his work on a project, that not many would expect to come from a 15 year old boy. Akash invented a non-invasive device that could predict a silent heart attack six hours in advance, giving ample time for the patient to seek help. The device has since then received clinical validation from Tokyo University of Science, London’s Royal Society of Medicine, and Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences. As a medical literature enthusiast, Akash would travel several miles, to visit the library to read medical journals, since they are generally expensive to purchase. Today, Akash finds his own name in such journals. He is currently working on a med-tech start-up, that aims to deliver his research for public use.
Sahithi Pingali – The One With a Planet Named After Her
When Sahithi Pingali participated in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, little did she know, that she would soon end up having a Milky Way planet named after her. Sahithi presented her paper “An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies” based on research, insights from her own app, and a lake monitoring kit. Her impressive presentation landed her three awards in the fair. She was then identified by the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that honoured her by naming a planet after her.
Angad Daryani – The Boy With Several Inventions To His Credit
Angad Daryani is a man of many trades. He has to his credit, products like Praan, Sharkits, SharkBot 3D systems and ReMakers. When he was in the sixth grade, he made a remote controlled model hovercraft, followed by a solar powered boat shortly thereafter. At the age of 15, Angad built India’s first home-grown 3D printer. He also created an e-book reader for blind that converts written text to braille. Such was his passion, curiosity, and drive for technology, that Angad chose to get home schooled for two years, in order to learn more outside the class room. Now 20, this inventor and social entrepreneur, studies Electrical Engineering at Georgia Tech, and has several rewards, Ted talks, and research experience to his credit.
Kavya Vignesh – Saving Bees Through Robotics
At the age of 12, Kavya Vignesh designed a Bee Saver Bot, that could save honeybees from going extinct. Using robotics and hi-tech components, Kavya developed a robot that removes honeybees safely and carefully without harming them, or humans. The solution could relocate bees to bee farms. The robot made Kavya the youngest ever to qualify for the First Lego League-European Open Championship.
Lessons to Learn From the Young Geniuses
Keep an Open Mind
All of these young geniuses’ stories, go on to show, that it’s never too early for children to make a difference. Like Amar Satvik’s father, who noticed his child’s enthusiasm for geography and tutored him accordingly, parents and teachers, must keep an open eye and mind, to notice a child’ talent.
Let Your Child Explore
When given a chance to explore their curiosities, like Angad Daryani was, children can make huge differences. It’s important for parents to remember, that their support can go a long way, and may be even save thousands of lives, like Akash’s invention holds the potential to. Do not brush off your child’s enthusiasm and drive.
Money Doesn’t Matter
Some of these children, like Anang Tadar, came from humble backgrounds, however that did not act as a deterrent in their success. No matter how humble a background you come from, when you have the drive, money doesn’t matter.
Biggest Problems May Have Simplest Solutions
Aman, Nachiket, and Lalita Prasida’s journeys go on to show, that sometimes the biggest problems, may have the simplest solutions.
With enough help and encouragement from parents and teachers, any child can be a genius in his/her own respective ways. Not every child may want to go change the world, but if interested, and given a chance, every child can!