Developing sustainable technology for rural problems

The scientist discovers a new type of material or energy and the engineer discovers a new use for it.
-Gordon Lindsay Glegg, British engineer and author

It all started in the year 2014 when we (Ankur and Sirish, engineering students from Bangalore) enrolled for summer volunteering program in “Youth for Seva”. We were sent to Seva Sagara high School in Sagara, Shimoga district to teach students of classes 8 th , 9 th , 10 th Spoken English and Applied Science. During our stay at Sagara, we were exposed to the various small but pertinent issues that exist in rural households. Our were hosteby the family of Mr.Anand, a passionate organic farmer. Post our teaching work at Sagara, we visited Mr. Anand in 2016 to understand some of the rural problems that could have a technological solution. Our visit in 2016 gave a deeper insight to the kinds of problems that could have engineering solutions. One of the problems
faced was that of igniting the Biogas or gobargas. As of today, the farmers use the conventional matchsticks to ignite biogas which is used in kitchen stoves and geysers. They were spending almost 10 match sticks to light once. The conventional lighters used to ignite LPG could not be used as the ignition temperature for biogas is higher than that of LPG.

To address this problem, we came up with a simple solution where we developed an electric lighter that could specifically be used to light up biogas. The device had a rechargeable battery and could run for over two days on a single charge. The device has a fast response time and could be used to ignite LPG as well. The solution was ideated and inspired from insect squatters and was developed by using those existing technology tools and devices and hacking and modifying them to achieve the goal of igniting the biogas. The device was developed with resources that were readily available off the shelf at a small cost which makes it a lucrative piece for farmers to own and address this problem.

This device was then presented at the annual organic farmers meet on the 26th July 2017 at Nidoni near Bijapur where around 400 farmers could catch a glimpse of the device.

We profusely thank Sri Anand AS, Trustee Savayava Krishi Parivar for providing us an opportunity and provide invaluable guidance to develop the device. We also thank Youth For Seva for providing us the opportunity to serve the students at Seva Sagara High School without which we would never have had the opportunity to be sensitized to rural problems.

At the outset, we feel extremely happy and proud to have developed solutions that make an impact to the community and feel ecstatic that we have achieved a part of the goals of an engineer, i.e to work to develop technology that is purposeful to humanity.

– Article by Ankur Bodhe and Sirish Mulugu

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