Name : Vishan Popat
District & State : Vadodara, Gujarat
Category : Engineering
Award : upto class 8th
Award Function : IGNITE 2008 Awards
Award Year : 2015
What’s the Big Idea?
A special pineapple knife that easily peels off the skin and removes the ‘eyes’.
Pineapples are Vishan’s favourite fruits. But they are difficult to cut as one has to slice through the hard skin and then take out the brown intrusions or ‘eyes’. Using a regular knife to cut pineapples was hard and took away some of the pleasure of eating them.
He tried buying it from the market, but did not find anything that suited him. That’s when the innovator inside him took over and he decided to make a pineapple knife himself.
Making the Knife
He imagined a knife that could peel off the tough skin and then groove out the ‘eyes’. He also wanted it to be cheap as he was sure that it was something that many others would also want to buy.
“It was challenging because although I had some idea of what I wanted to do, many times a design looked good on paper but did not work out when implemented,” he shares. However, he kept on trying. After creating five or six models through trial and error, he finally got a knife that made him happy.
More Ideas from a Creative Mind
It’s interesting that many of his ideas come from his own experiences. He likes pizza and was put off when he could not cut it into equal pieces. So, he came up with a round pizza cutter that’s divided into multiple sections. When it is pushed down, the pizza is cut into equal pieces at one go.
Similarly, travelling in a car on a rainy day made him want to look out and enjoy the scene. But the heavy rain blocked his view from the side window. So, he came up with the idea of side screen wipers for cars. He also suggested a dustbin with solar panels on top that power a beeper to indicate when the bin is full.
Although still in school, he has already authored a book on aerodynamics and participated in the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference, an international model United Nations conference for school students. He enjoys reading in his free time because “they help me remain updated”.
He wants to create “open air classrooms”. This idea is inspired from his own experience as a student. “In school, we sat in a closed room with 38 benches facing a blackboard. I felt stifled and wanted to get out,” he informs. He wants to introduce open air class rooms where students sit outside and directly interact with nature.
His parents are proud of their son’s compassionate and caring nature. His mother puts it beautifully when she says, “I am happy with my son’s success, but what makes me truly proud is that he is a good human being.”