A 14-year-old boy R Advay from Chennai has made the city proud by winning the prestigious Google Science Fair Community Impact Award 2016 (Asia-Pacific Region), which was announced on Tuesday, for his project on enhancing the safety and productivity of fishermen using Global Positioning Services (GPS). The award includes a grant of $1,000 in funding and a year-long mentorship from Scientific American to develop his project further.
City Express caught up with the elated student of National Public School a few hours after the announcement. “I’m very excited to have won the award. I worked very hard on the project,” said Advay, and added that the idea for his project, FishErmen Lifeline Terminal (FELT), came to him when he saw the news of several fishermen from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu repeatedly being arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for trespassing maritime boundaries.
“I wanted to do something to help them avoid this,” explained Advay. “The terminal has several features, including a broadcast alert system to warn fishermen of rough climate/ typhoon alerts from the sea using Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS). It tracks catchment history; fishermen can mark a particular place where they have had a good haul. Most importantly, it also has an alert system that warns them if they near a maritime boundary.”
Advay is looking forward to developing his project with the help and mentoring the award has opened up for him. “The project is not finished completely; it was just an initial design with satisfactory results,” he said. “I have to use better technology to make it more perfect for it to have actual impact on the lives of fishermen.”
His parents are, obviously, excited about their son’s victory. “He used to track the developments of Mangalyaan and ISRO very keenly. So this award will be very good exposure for him,” said Advay’s father Ramesh Rajsekran.
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