Published: 23rd February 2021
This SAFE bench by Shiv Nadar School students can self-sanitise as you get up to prevent virus spread. Here's how
We find out about the bench called SAFE that was created by an all-girls student team from Shiv Nadar School in Faridabad. Here's why it's great
The pandemic instilled in us a fear of venturing out, we have all been quite anxious about shaking hands and touching surfaces in the worry that we might contract the virus. To solve this problem and create a safer space, five students from Shiv Nadar School in Faridabad created something unique — a self-sanitising bench that can be sterilised with the help of UV light. This not only decreases the risk of transmitting COVID-19 but also viruses such as Influenza and Hepatitis A.
The bench is called SAFE and it was created by an all-girls student team at the school — Nirvani Jain, Arshia Jaitli, Suhani Sharma, Gurnoor Kaur and Mansi Aggarwal. The first prototype has been tested inside the school and the students plan to install more in the near future. They created the SAFE bench as a part of a competition organised by their school every year. "We run an extensive technology curriculum from Grade 7 to 10, which includes elements like graphic designing, 3D modelling, animation, programming, robotics etc. The students try and learn various technologies to finally apply them in a real-world context or situation. Thus, for evaluating the effectiveness of our curriculum, at the end of Grade 10, students get to chose their own teams of 5-10 members. Then, a competition is organised among 30-40 team of students where they identify a real-world problem and have to find out the solution, create a prototype, take it back to their target audience and test it. The team that created the bench stood second," explains Mark Nelson, Head IT at Shiv Nadar School.
Mansi Aggarwal, one of the team members
Nirvani Jain, another team member
Speaking about their motive behind creating such a bench, Nirvani Jain, one of the team members, said, "Around February we got to know about the competition. But then the lockdown happened and we weren't able to attend school anymore or even go out. We had various ideas but this came into being because no one could venture out and there was an immense fear of picking up an infection. That's when we thought that if we could make a clean space for people to sit, then people could confidently go out. Our main motive was to build something that would give assurance to people that this is safe."
So, how does the bench work? The bench can be made either automatic or manual. It has ultrasonic sensors that automatically switch on once the person sitting on it gets up. Then it starts off an automatic sanitisation process with the help of the UV light. "The sitting area will rotate and will be sanitised every time. The ultrasonic sensor detects when a person is not sitting on it and it will turn on the UV light to disinfect. There is a pedal on the side of the manual version of the bench for it to rotate. We are also in the process of making an app. There will be a QR code on the bench. When you scan it, it will lead you to a website and with that, you can control it," adds Mansi Aggarwal, another team member.
The all-girls team took around ten months, starting from February 2020, to create the first prototype. "As we were all cooped up in our houses, we mainly did all the planning over Zoom calls. Towards the end, when the lockdown was largely eased, we went to school to complete the process. We have tested it on our campus already and the response has been overwhelming. However, due to some Coronavirus restrictions still in place, we are yet to put this out in the market," concludes Nirvani.