Odisha Duo’s Device Gains NASA Recognition

Two final-year students of College of Engineering and Technology (CET) have developed a device that can detect early signs of a forest fire – gaining recognition from the prestigious US space agency NASA.

Pratyush and Pramit, the two engineers were inspired to develop this device after the mishap of Uttarakhand forest fire in 2016. The duo first displayed their project ‘Jewel Beetle’, at the Sankalp Hackathon-2019 held at Kolkata in January 2019. The name Jewel Beetle signifies the forest insect that is prompt in detecting forest fires.

The instrument records change in temperature and humidity among other parameters for early detection of forest fires. The duo has secured their place among the 25 semi-finalists for this year’s NASA iTech Cycle, an initiative of NASA Space Technology Directorate, being the lone entrants from Asia.

“A wireless system that uses stand-alone boxes that harvest energy from microbial fuel cells to monitor forest fires quickly and efficiently” is how NASA’s website describes the device designed by the duo – both students of instrumentation and electronics engineering. “Through the iTech competition, NASA encourages innovators from across the world to present their ideas that benefit space exploration and solve challenges on the Earth,” said Pratyush.