A GSM-based device which aims to remotely connect farmers to water pumps situated in their fields. Know how a 17 year old Ishan Malhotra came up with a life changing Idea – 17 year old Indian teen who builds low-cost device to help farmers remotely control electronic equipment
Indian teen who builds low-cost device to help farmers remotely control electronic equipment
An young Indian science enthusiast who dreams of a better India with electric interests and a strong bent towards Science and Technology. At the age of 17, Ishan Malhotra, a student of Jayshree Periwal International School, jaipur is no less than a Hero. After to long years of determined effort, Ishan has been able to create a low cost device which is determined to make life easier for Farmers.The device which is called ‘Pluto’ is effortless in its Job.
“Because agriculture is their main occupation, water supply is what they depend on. For this reason, they have to travel large distances to just turn on their water pumps, as the water pump is normally located at very far distances on the farm land. So, they have to walk over 10 kilometers everyday to just turn on their water pump. Now, the second problem arises because of the random supply of power. Power might come at 2 in the morning or 6 in the morning and the farmers has no way of knowing this. So, they can’t plan their day as there’s no certainty about when the power will come,” said Malhotra who built Pluto to solve this huge problem of Farmers.
How does Pluto works?
Pluto connects farmers to water pumps directly through a GSM-based devise which enables farmers to control their water pumps remotely or any other electrical device from anywhere they might be at any point of time. It is designed keeping any submersible motor in mind. Pluto is capable of handling anywhere up to 25 amps of current. “You have similar mobile automation devices in the market, but they all require a mobile application and the internet and a smartphone. Pluto works through a normal 2G service and also your basic landline.”
Built with an Arduino micro-controller kit and powered with a GSM modem, Pluto depicts a mobile phone inside the device, which is capable of supporting outgoing calls, incoming calls and text messages at one swing. The most common problem is that farmers do not have control over irregular power supply, Pluto let them turn their pumps on and off from any location. It also notifies the farmers when the power supply returns after an outrage, so that the pump can be used at the right time.
Pluto can be connected to any water pump in the farm and to switch the device on/off, It just need a call to be placed. The caller is greeted with an IVR menu which has options for power status, switching the device on/off and enabling/disabling SMS alerts, once the call is placed. The menu is currently set in English, but Malhotra is working to include Hindi and other regional language to give a National boost in farming Industry.
Pluto is not a waterproof device which is a big drawback and Malhotra hopes that he can soon develop a version which can easily resist any water damage. Pluto is just not limited to farming. It can also be used in urban setting to control various electrical gadgets such as lamps, AC, geysers, washing machines, dishwashers and what not!
“He made a prototype box in class 8, when he was involved in a summer programme organised by Stanford. The prototype was bigger and I was travelling to the US, so, I took the prototype box with me and showed it to a Google engineer, Carson McNeil a Software Engineer in the company. So, Carson really helped him refine the idea. He gave him the idea that it must have an alert feature when the power is restored,” said Benu Malhotra, Ishan’s mother.Pluto went through many modifications before its current version, which is also being worked to improve its functionality and efficiency.
Pluto is not yet available commercially and Malhotra and his parents are trying to get some attention from the government. Ishan is aiming to price Pluto somewhere around Rs. 1000 or lower. Benu, Ishan’s Mother tells us that they have tried to approach Delhi government at many different occasions, but all they have received is a lukewarm response. “We have written to Manish Sisodia, we have also written to Arvind Kejriwal, but you know how it is. We were asked to meet Manish Sisodia on Holi, so we thought he has given us time not knowing it’s Holi. But, then these guys lost elections in Punjab and were just not in the right mood, so they didn’t get back to us,”
As they haven’t been able to showcase pluto to government officials, 5 units of Pluto are being tested amongst members of the Resident Welfare Association (RWA), of the South Delhi where the Malhotra’s reside.
In future, Ishan Malhotra is determined to make Pluto more cost effective. He eventually wants to reach to a solution where If a call is placed to pluto, The caller can easily get the power status of their connected electrical equipment even before Pluto will have any idea about the call. He sees it as how the concept of a caller tune works“I was trying to think of something on how I can integrate those caller tunes. Because, when the farmer calls, he hears the caller tune. That caller tune might indicate whether the pump is on or off. That way probably the cost of using Pluto would fall more,” he says.
Besides building Pluto, Malhotra already has a slew of academic achievements under his belt. His knack for learning new concepts on robotics, computer science, game designing and physics, led him to participate in multiple programmes. He has previously attended a 2-week programme on Vex Robotics at Wellesley College, spent another 2 weeks attending a summer course on computer science and game design organised by Stanford University, earned second position in Rajasthan at the Indian Robotic Competition, also participated in Google’s coding, science fairs and many more Arenas.
We at Curling Tale are Inspired by your passion and your vision to create technology for a better tomorrow. He must be a proud 17 year old Indian teen who builds low-cost device to help farmers remotely control electronic equipment. He is the hope of Indian farms and he must get the recognition and the attention to take Pluto to the next level and give Indian farms a new blood, A digital blood.