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Sheer brains to sense alarm - IIT-Madras alumnus & Sakchi boy on top 10 global innovators list

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ANTARA BOSE   |     |   Published 06.07.13, 12:00 AM

He was born years after the Bhopal gas tragedy of December 1984. But had Tarun Kumar Mishra been born before, his invention might have saved thousands who died breathing the toxic methyl isocyanate that leaked from the Union Carbide plant.

Tarun, awaiting his convocation from IIT-Madras this month-end, and now at his Sakchi home for a breather, has invented DeTect, a sensor that can detect industrial leaks.

Tarun, an alumnus of DAV Public School, Bistupur, said he devised the sensor with mentor Krishnan Balasubramaniam.

The cylindrical, 8cm-long sensor can detect not just leak but potential ones on a pipeline.

One sensor, working as an alarm, can sniff 60m of the pipeline.

If the sensor starts to sing, officials can easily detect the exact spot of the leak before a disaster breaks out.

At present, most industries carry out shutdown for days to manually check leakage points in a well-insulated pipeline.

Now, the industry won’t have to shut down.

“Industries spend crores to ensure no leakage in lengthy pipelines. Most of the industries hire a third-party agency to do the job. But, this sensor can be a one-time investment. One does not have to be present on spot,” Tarun, a metallurgy student, said.

Tarun’s technology generates ultrasonic guided waves within any material, especially long pipelines. The travelling wave can detect defects along in its way.

“Once the area is spotted, with some quick calculations, we can easily tell if the defect can cause any potential damage to the standing structure,” the inventor said.

The best part is that the device is simple and cost-effective. One sensor costs around Rs 6,000.

“It took us, Balasubramaniam sir and myself, three years to bring out this product, which is essential in today’s industries,” he said, adding the design was awaiting patent.

A little prodding and the inventor adds: “I have been listed among the top 10 innovators in the DST-Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Programme, which is a joint venture by the department of science and technology, government of India, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and other major partners, to promote our technologies in the global market.”

It means he will visit Silicon Valley, California, this September to market his products and scout for venture capitalists to back his schemes.

“I am excited as this is an opportunity to prove myself. Being one of the top 10 innovators of a prestigious programme will give a chance to start my own venture,” Tarun said.

Also in his kitty is a job with Reliance Petrochemicals, Jamnagar. Truly, this Jamshedpur boy is all set to go places.


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