Some of the best ideas come from young innovators who simply want to help society and not think only about money. Samsung has been working with youngsters around India for a very long time. It’s a company that has a lot of innovative programmes that go beyond presenting the snazziest of gizmos. One of the big initiatives for the company has been Solve for Tomorrow, which welcomes a culture of innovative thinking and problem-solving among the country’s youth.
The top three winning teams of Solve for Tomorrow 2023 are NIT Surat, which has developed an automated beach-cleaning robot called Sweep; Stemly, which has developed a conversational AI tool to help women choose STEM and Think, which has built a personal cooling device called Kavach for those who work outdoors. They have received a total prize money of Rs 1.5 crore to further improve their ideas and turn them into reality. More importantly, they have received help from some of the best minds in India.
This year the company invited ideas from 16-22-year-olds to solve problems around four themes — Education & Learning, Health & Wellness, Environment & Sustainability and Diversity & Inclusion. Over 6,500 teams from across 500 cities, towns and villages submitted their ideas.
We emailed the winning teams a few questions and here is what they have to say.
Team NIT Surat
Know the innovators….
The core members of the team are Aditi Tapariya, Harshil Mistry and Vaibhav Gupta, who are all studying in undergraduate programmes at SVNIT. Aditi is a student of electrical engineering in pre-final year and is from Ajmer. Harshil is studying electronics and communication engineering in pre-final year and is a tech enthusiast from Surat. Vaibhav is pursuing mechanical engineering in pre-final year and is from Vapi.
Team NIT Surat features Aditi Tapariya, Harshil Mistry and Vaibhav Gupta
Our quest is to address the accumulation of harmful, non-biodegradable waste on beaches and its impact on a beach’s ecosystem under the ‘Environment and Sustainability’ theme of Solve for Tomorrow Season 2. To tackle this issue, we have conceptualised an automated beach-cleaning robot.
Embarking on our college journey at NIT Surat, our excitement for spontaneous trips (to Daman) with friends was met with disappointment. The once pristine shores were marred by debris, prompting us to question if this was a widespread problem. Researching extensively, we identified it as a global issue. Driven by our technical minds, we sought an adaptable solution, giving birth to Sweep — an initiative aimed at addressing and tackling beach cleanliness challenges.
Our automated robot is programmable and features optimum sensors that can detect, identify and segregate waste materials based on whether they are plastic or non-plastic. This automated robot will be capable of traversing rugged terrains and autonomously navigating a beach, covering maximum area. Also, it features a WebGUI which provides all feedback and insights about Sweep to the user. It can automatically dispose of the waste at a designated site.
Their SFT journey....
Our journey at Solve for Tomorrow has been quite enriching and educational. We started with an idea and a desire to make a meaningful impact and it has come closer to the stage of fruition through the continuous guidance and support of FITT, IIT Delhi experts, and Samsung experts. Meeting some of the stalwarts of the tech industry and working alongside them has been delightful and inspiring. In the final phase of the competition, our concentrated effort was pivotal.
Help from Samsung experts....
Visiting Samsung’s R&D facilities, corporate office and Samsung Opera House and meeting some of the company’s tech experts has been an insightful experience for us. We got to hear their experiences that helped us to ideate, innovate, and eventually turn our prototypes ito reality.
Know the innovator....
Yash Yadav is from Nagpur and he is 17 years old, pursuing science at MKH Sancheti Public School.
Team Stemly is represented by Yash Yadav
The SFT journey....
My journey of Solve for Tomorrow Season 2 has been filled with enriching experiences that taught me so much about building an innovative product and making it more scalable as per the evolving needs of society. Meeting with other teams and getting to know about their innovations has especially motivated me to pursue my idea in a bigger way. The past couple of months have taken me on a learning curve which has built up my confidence as an innovator.
His idea and its impact....
According to UNESCO Science Report 2021, women accounted for less than 33 STEM researchers and 28 tertiary graduates in 2018. I believe that these numbers can be changed for the better by inspiring and empowering women to pursue careers in STEM sciences. To achieve this goal, I conceptualised a personal conversational AI that will support women in their STEM-jobs pursuit and offer them socio-psychology interventions to keep them motivated.
I was motivated to address this issue when I saw only seven women enrol in the science stream when I started studying in Class XI. I felt that this space is unexplored and women have immense potential in leading the way. That is when I was motivated to do something that would motivate young women to pursue STEM-specific courses.
The AI will utilise natural language processing along with a variety of artificial intelligence techniques integrated with positive reinforcement by sharing the experiences of leading women in STEM.
First glimpse of an entrepreneurial journey....
I have always imagined opening my own innovation hub that develops technology for the betterment of society. However, I had little to no idea as to what such an endeavour brings. SFT has given me the fundamental knowledge and insight to envision my journey towards entrepreneurship.
Key learnings from the competition....
It helped me understand how to take the idea further and interact better with society. What I also learned during my time in Solve for Tomorrow was how to adopt a user-centric approach while developing a product.
The trio comprises Mukkabir Rahman, Ankush Yadav, and Varsha KJ from Golaghat.
The motivation behind the idea….
We were inspired by the eye-opening ‘Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector’ report. The World Bank warned that India could face heatwaves beyond human survival. This alarming prediction casts a shadow over India as approximately 380 million people in the nation depend on occupations that expose them to extreme heat.
To address this risk, we conceptualised Kavach, a lightweight, stylish, and cost-effective vest that regulates body temperature and keeps it cool for extended durations. This versatile and compact vest harnesses the power of cutting-edge semiconductor technology, eliminating the hassle of traditional cooling methods. Kavach is designed to care for an individual’s comfort needs through all weather conditions and can even provide customised, tailoring its output to their desired levels.
The SFT journey….
Our journey at Solve for Tomorrow has been that of learning and growth. Getting such early exposure to industry leaders and tech geniuses has helped shape our outlook towards purposeful innovation. We are still young and there’s much to learn but SFT has given us a head start in our future endeavours.
Our main objective after Solve for Tomorrow is to launch Kavach in the market and cater to the millions who work in the scorching heat without any protection. We have multiple other ideas we wish to work on and that’s why plan to start our own innovation hub.
Help from Samsung….
We have had a series of interactions with Samsung experts through the course of Solve for Tomorrow Season 2. Not only these interactions were encouraging and inspiring, but they were also full of meaningful feedback that we were able to incorporate into our project, especially in terms of design. We gained more confidence in presenting our prototype and learned more about presentation skills.