Empathy is the mother of ‘great ideas’... A tale from Telangana

G.Sathwik from Sujatha High School, Telangana, lost his uncle in a road accident where he was hit by a vehicle driven by a drunk driver. This unfortunate incident left a mark on Swastik’s mind & nudged him to think about how such deaths can be prevented.

He began looking at information on the internet &, to his shock, he discovered that India had recorded 8355 road accidents as ‘drink & drive’ in just one year (2019) resulting in over 3322 deaths. This staggering number moved Sathwik to take action.

When the Bayer-ENpower ATL Enhancement Program gave an opportunity to students to identify real-life problems, Swastik didn’t have to think for a second! Sathwik’s research led him to alcohol sensors that detect the driver’s breath for alcohol traces. He learned to build an efficient circuit using Arduino & programmed it to disable the engine of the vehicle. With this innovation, a drunk driver cannot start the engine thereby addressing the problem at the root!

But adding this feature to vehicles was turning out to be expensive & only high-end cars could afford to have this feature. Sathwik says, “Life-saving technology should be accessible to all. I shared this idea with my friends in the program & together we decided to make this technology affordable to all & accessible to customers with low-end vehicles as well.”

Through a series of design thinking exercises & innovation workshops, Sathwik & his friends came up with a simple device that links sensors to the car engine using Bluetooth technology! Isn’t it amazing how simple ideas lead to life-changing innovations?”

Sathwik says, “I want to be a doctor when I grow up but this program helped me realize that my ultimate goal is to save lives. I am glad that I got the opportunity to work on this project & save more lives using technology & innovation.