Published: 18th November 2020
This teenage innovator has developed an automated pesticide sprayer to ease our farmers' load
Neha Bhatt, a 10th grader who has developed an automated agri sprayer that can help farmers spray pesticides or organic medicine without much effort. It works on chargeable battery for five hours
When Neha Bhatt, a 10th grader, observed the farmers growing areca nut facing difficulty in spraying pesticides in the farm, she felt that it was time to develop a sprayer that is automatic and easy to use. But the 15-year-old never imagined that she would win third place at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Innovation Award for School Children 2020. Neha recalls, "Two years ago, I conducted a survey among farmers about spraying pesticides on the areca nut trees. I found that it was quite challenging for them as the gator pumps they used requires two people. While one person stands below the tree and presses the pump, the other climbs up to spray the pesticide. Aside from this, close proximity to the chemicals in the pesticide caused severe health problems. So, I decided to develop something useful that would help farmers do their work and minimise their health risks. Thus, the automated sprayer machine came into the picture."
Neha who is from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada, hails from a family of farmers that also cultivate the areca nut. This paved the way for her to make lots of trial and errors while developing the automated sprayer machine at home. She explains, "Though the machine that I have developed is new, the gator pump and other smaller parts used were all second-hand and some of them were even available at home. My parents, Atal Tinkering Labs at Vivekananda English Medium School and NXplorers helped me build this machine that weighs totally 30 kg and includes a diesel motor, battery, two gator pumps, pressure release valves, a gearbox and liquid level indicator. The kit is fixed on a cart so that it can be moved around easily."
So how does the machine work? The 15-year-old explains, "The two gator pumps play an important role. They are fixed face-to-face with their pistons connected to the gearbox. There are wheels used in this machine. Once the wheels start rotating, one piston is pulled while the other piston is pushed. The smaller wheel is connected to the DC motor that gets power from the battery. Whenever the gator pumps put pressure, the suction box sucks the medicine which flows to the junction box. I have provided three outlets to this junction box so that three trees can be sprayed at a time. Similarly, the liquid indicator shows the amount of pesticide present in the machine. The battery that I have used works for five hours continuously after five ours of charging."
Not only as a pesticide sprayer, the machine can also be used as a weedicide sprayer for crops including paddy, rubber and cashew. Neha's innovation has taken her to several national level competitions. For the first time, she presented this machine in a fair called Anveshana 2019 — a Science and Engineering competition held across the country. "My machine caught the attention of a lot of people. Later, I got a B grade in the National Children's Science Congress organised by the Indian Science Congress Association. In 2020, I won third place at the CSIR Innovation Award for School Children 2020 and a `30,000 cash prize. Furthermore, industry experts have given their feedback on adding a few more features and improving the capacity of the machine. This is still in process, " she concludes.