Dubai boy becomes regional finalist in Google science contest
Grade 11 student designs project to make street lights smarter and save power.
Dubai: A Dubai boy has ranked among the top 100 regional finalists for the Google Science Fair global contest for student projects.
Shaamil Karim, a grade 11 student at Indian High School Dubai, was selected from thousands of entries for his project to make street lights smarter.
In the running for the global 20 finalists, his project detects if a car or person is passing by and makes the next street light brighter and the previous light dimmer, saving energy.
Karim, a 15-year-old computer whizkid from the southern Indian city of Chennai, said his father was his inspiration to come up with a solution for power wastage.
"We were at a park late at night and all the lights were switched" on. My dad said, ‘Can’t we do something about this?’ I decided to do my project to make street lights smart.
- Shaamil Karim, Grade 11 student at Indian High School Dubai
A new way to notice
Instead of using infrared-based motion detectors, which would be expensive, Karim used photo-resistors to detect the shadow cast by passing cars or people. Once a shadow is sensed, the next street light brightens up for the approaching road user while the previous one dims down.
“For safety reasons, you cannot have the street lights off and then suddenly come on — as in the corridors in buildings — so the solution is to make them smarter by brightening and diming where and when appropriate,” he said.
He added that his project would be around 63 per cent cheaper than infrared-based sensors. All it needs are photo-resistors, cables and a microcontroller to fit to existing street lights in developing countries.
Karim said he wrote the coding for the system himself. The teen has won a Chromebook laptop, T-shirt and goody bag for becoming a regional finalist. He said the winners list on GoogleScienceFair.com shows he is the only one from the UAE to make it to the 100 shortlist.
The global 20 finalists are expected to be announced this month.
Karim said he has an “exceeding passion” for computer science, which he wants to study in college in combination with another major that he will decide later. He said his elder brother is his role model.