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When T Chris Ananth, a Class I student of Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, came up with the idea of a vacuum cleaner-like device in a shoe that could suck dust as the person wearing them walked, his idea wasn’t laughed off as baby talk. Instead, it was complemented for ingenuity. “We gave Ananth the IGNITE award in 2010 for this conceptual leap, got the shoe fabricated, a crude prototype, and also filed a patent in his name,” informs Anil Gupta, executive vice-chairman of National Innovation Foundation (NIF), a government-funded yet autonomous scientific society that reaches out to innovators.

IGNITE is an annual competition for students’ ideas and innovations conducted by NIF. This year, 14,889 children from 30 states and union territories took part and 32 were awarded in November. Last year, around 4,000 students had participated.

Mohammed Usman Hanif Patel of Class II from Jalgaon, Maharashtra, was the youngest recipient of the 2012 IGNITE award. Fed up with regular power cuts, Patel came up with the idea of a fan which will be powered by windmill on the rooftop.

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