The Telegraph
Saturday , December 1 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crunchy cars, fresh off the chopping block
- Students of 21 schools from across India dice 500gm vegetable vehicles at creativity olympiad

And you thought only your favourite cartoon characters could convert carrots into a car?

The best among budding techies conjured up miniature veggie versions of vehicles to prove their mettle at the National Creativity Olympiad, 2012, at The Institution of Engineers, Jamshedpur, on Friday.

The 88 participants, students from Classes IX to XII of 21 schools from across the country, were given potato, brinjal, ridge gourd, carrot and radish in place of metal, nuts and bolts or tyres.

There was yet another catch — the vehicle should weigh less than 500gm and ply smoothly on a specially made ramp.

Twenty-two teams, including six from the city, with four members in each, were given merely two hours, starting at 10am for their creations.

“For the first 15 minutes, we racked our brains on how we could come up with the best vehicle. What we had to keep in mind was to make the body of the vehicle strong enough, keeping the front lighter than the rear so that it could run easily down the slope. We used mainly brinjal, carrot and radish,” said Yogesh Kumar, a student from DAV Public School, Bhubaneswar.

The students were also allowed to handle broomsticks to tie various parts of their organic, eco-friendly vehicles together.

“It should not be necessary for students alone to be innovative all the time. Organisers, too, have to think differently. We thought about vegetables this time. The participants today were asked to create three-wheelers, cars or any other vehicle they wished to. They will be judged on the design and mechanics of the vehicle, besides weight and how it moves,” said Dinesh Prasad, the organising secretary of the Olympiad.

In the two-day event that started on friday, more than 100 students from Jamshedpur, Patna, Kanpur, Bhubaneswar, Bhilai, Tirupati, Calcutta, Bokaro and Ranchi are vying for creativity crowns .

On Day 1, the second phase of the contest between the 22 teams saw students making water pumps out of syringe, straw, tape, rubber band and plastic.

Prasad, who is also the secretary of the Institution of Engineers, said: “In the second contest, the students have to practically design a working water pump out of materials we gave them.”

On Day 2, school students will also take part in a model making competition. Earlier, a preliminary round was held at the city level in Jamshedpur on November 11, during which 96 teams from 40 schools took part in written tests.

The winners of Friday’s contests will take home laptops, palmtops and smart phones to be awarded at the meet’s closing ceremony at Motilal Nehru Public School on Saturday. And no, they won’t be made up of cucumbers.