Indian boy selected in Google Science Fair
An Indian boy from Dubai becomes regional finalist in Google science contest

Indian student Shamil Karim from the Indian High School in Dubai has been named among thousands of students to participate in the “Google Science Fair” after he was at the top of the list of 100 finalists in the region for a project that makes street lighting smarter, India’s NDTV.

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The project is working to verify that the light of the next lamp is as bright as a person or a vehicle, while the previous lamp light has eased to save energy.

Karim, a 15-year-old computer genius, said his father had inspired him to come up with a solution to waste energy, saying his project would be 63 percent less expensive than infrared sensors.

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“We were in a park late at night and all the lights were on,” he said. Boy’s father looked at him and asked him: “We can not do anything about it, so I decided to start a project to make street lights smarter.”

Karim used photo-resistors to observe the shadow forged by passing cars or people, rather than using infrared-based motion detectors that probably costlier then photo-resistors.

Once a shadow is detected, the next street light brightens up for the approaching road user whereas the previous one dims down.

“For safety reasons, you can not have the street lights off and so suddenly come on as in the corridors in buildings so the solution is to create them smarter by brightening and diming where and when appropriate,” he said.

He added that his project would be around 63 percent cheaper than infrared-based sensors. All it needs are photo-resistors, cables, and a microcontroller to suit existing street lights in developing countries.

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Karim said he wrote the coding for the system himself. The teenager has won a Chromebook laptop computer, T-shirt and goody bag for becoming a regional finalist. He said the winner’s list on GoogleScienceFair.com shows he’s the sole one from the UAE to make it to the hundred shortlists. The global twenty finalists are expected to be declared this month.

Karim said he has an “exceeding passion” for engineering science, which he wants to study in college together with another major that he can decide later. He said his elder brother is his role model.

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