Innovative ideas coming from children are evidence of how pervasive the spirit of creativity is. This was brought alive at the third edition of a week-long Festival of Innovation (FOIN) held earlier this month in the capital. As part of the festival, the Ninth National Biennial Awards for Grassroots Innovations and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge were presented to 62 awardwinning ideas and innovations.

Giving away the awards at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 4 March, President Pranab Mukherjee said, "It is important to imbibe in children a spirit of scientific inquiry and encourage them to pursue their curiosity and creativity, which will help them discover the fascination of creating something new." He said ideas of innovators will make a true difference only if all of us in different roles and institutions join hands in creating compassion and creativity in the country.

The President also inaugurated a National Innovation Exhibition of grassroots innovators from across the country on the occasion.The young scientists and grassroots innovators showcased their imagination and ability in the innovative world of science and technology.

The 60 award-winning exhibits included a modified hand cart, step-lock system in a bus, Oxygen and Carbon dioxide level indicators in a car, posture correcting chair,purification of industrial sewage, electricity generation by the wind of a moving train. The exhibition remained open till 10 March and all visitors to the Mughal Gardens were able to visit it.

Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan said science and technology has to be more responsible to society. "We should start working on solutions that can improve the lives of people." he added. The innovators were identified by the National Innovation Foundation-India (NIF) during its 9th National Biennial Competition, which lasted from 1 April, 2013 to 31 March, 2015 and attracted over 33,000 submissions.

Speaking to The Statesman, student awardee Kulsoom Rizavi of Lucknow,described her experience as bewildering. "I never thought I will be able to reach this far!" she said, "This has inspired me to do lots more in the field of innovation." She has earlier received IGNITE-2013 award from former President, late A P J Abdul Kalam, for her innovation "posture correcting chair".

Along with fellow awardees Tarun Anand of Ghaziabad and Sunvi Agarwal of Chandigrh Kulsoom conceived the idea of the chair, which has sensors at appropriate places, which will alert the user if one is sitting in a wrong posture.Kulsoom dreams of going on a world tour. "I want to travel around the world and learn about the cultures of different countries. I wish to produce my innovations on a large scale so that the entire nation can benefit from them," she said.

Student of Class IX, Deepankar Jena of Jajpur district in Odisha, left visitors amazed with his project on industrial sewage and its purification and recycling. Describing his project, Jena said it is based on the scientific principle of "precipitation of water soluble chemical by treatment with suitable chemicals". He explained that water soluble chemicals are difficult to separate but can be transformed to an insoluble compound, which can be filtered out easily. With keen interest in science,he wishes to become a scientist.

Young Md Usman Hanif Patel form Jalgaon district in Maharashtra, saw a street vendor struggling with his hand cart while negotiating a turn on an incline, which led to idea of Modified Hand cart with steering mechanism and brakes. It makes life easier for street vendors, who use hand-carts.Usman is now studying in Class VI and aspires to become a fighter pilot.

Four young students at their secondary school level, from Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu – R Santhosh, J Rajasekar, A Nivashini and K Rathna – developed a StepLock system in Bus. They put a sensor at footboard, which does not allow the bus to move if people are standing on the steps, thereby preventing road accidents.

Disturbed by frequent power cuts in her area, Vaishnavi, a Class VII student from Faizabad district in Uttar Pradesh, thought of generating electricity with the wind of a moving train. Elaborating on her model exhibit, she said it was applicable on planes too. A wind turbine fit on a moving vehicle can cause a turbine to rotate and thus electricity can be produced.

After learning about accidental deaths in cars due to suffocation, three students S R Valava (Kalapakkam, Tamil Nadu), Pratyush Kumar Sahoo and Bikash Kumar Mallick (Khurda, Odisha) developed an instrument fitted inside a car to sense and detect levels of Oxygen and Carbon dioxide in the vehicle and automatically open the windows, thereby preventing accidental deaths of children or pets locked inside the car.