Teenagers stuck to screens of varied sizes for entertainment is a popular adult grievance. But what if they were changing the world, one solution at a time? That’s what l7-year-olds Roshan Kirpalani, Rahul Alluri, Sathvik Birudavolu and Guru Senthil proved at the Bangalore Teen Hackathon, a rare platform that challenges high-schoolers to ﬁnd technological solutions to problems in their immediate environment. These savvy teens from Greenwood High International School designed an app to help out rural farmers through the humble SMS, something that helped them seal the top spot amongst 13 prestigious schools from across the city.
“We realized that farmers living in rural areas don’t have access to the Internet. Although larger companies like Google and Facebook tried to reach out to them using high-altitude balloons, solar-powered drones etc., there aren’t enough resources to power it. We realized that we could send small amounts of data through SMS to people who really needed it, at a really low cost,” explains Sathvik about the solution they hit upon. Their ingenious app also provides vital details about crops, weather, and other educational information in Hindi through voice messages as farmers do not have access to the internet and might not be educated.
Organised by the Spark Career Mentors, this wasn’t their ﬁrst brush with a hackathon though. These youngsters, some of them being students of computer science, apparently host their own at their school! “We call the club Syntax and we organize our own hackathons all the time. We started it at our school. but would love to reach out to other schools as well,” adds Rahul, who loves coding and winning, hence believes this platform to be just the fit.
You’d also be surprised at how driven they are. Ask them where they see themselves in a decade from now and the answers are abundance. “I want to work on a product to help people attain economic freedom,” says Guru Senthil, a student of economics, but who his pals believe is the strongest force of their coding team. “My interests lie in artiﬁcial intelligence. I’ve already made several programs and games on Al and would like to work at an artiﬁcial research centre like Facebook research or something like that,” shrugs Sathvik, who is also a pro Rubix cube solver and can do it blindfolded! “It takes me a couple of minutes though,” he smiles. Rahul knows what he won’t be doing though — “I won’t be sitting behind a desk. I want to work on my own ideas,” says the focussed lad who also plays for his school’s basketball team. For Roshan who picked up coding as a hobby, it’s all about progressing. “I see myself in business administration and at a place where I’m constantly learning something new – always,” he says. Does the future look bright? We think so!