Nine school students from across the country have been felicitated by Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani for winning Google India’s “Code to Learn” 2015 competition under the Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan. Students from over 50 cities had participated in the contest and the winners were chosen by a jury comprising scientists, computer engineers from Google, ACM India and the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Delhi. Winning applications developed by the students included gaming apps, utility apps as well as apps aimed at sending out a “broader social message”.
Among the winners was Neerav Aiyappa, a Class 5 student from Excel Public School, Mysore, who invented an application named “Wings over Waves”.
Neerav explained, “Wings over Waves (WOW) is a game that aims to make players aware of the difficulties that birds face during migration. It shows birds flying over rivers and diving into the water to catch fish, but due to pollutants in the water and the resultant fall in the water’s oxygen level, it becomes difficult for the birds to stay under water for long to catch fish.”
“I once observed birds diving into rivers to catch fish back in my hometown and was inspired,” said Neerav. Kavery Aiyappa, Neerav’s mother, said, “We didn’t want him to make any violence-based games. WOW is not just a fun game, but comes with a message too.”
Shyam, another gamer who won the award, invented a game called “EpicNinja-the colour changer”. Shyam, a Class 9 student from St. Michael’s Academy Higher Secondary, Chennai, said, “I got the inspiration for the game from the popular cartoon series ‘Ninja Hatori’. There are already many Ninja games in the market. But EpicNinja is different because it can blend with the villains and mislead the player. The player won’t know which ninja is the hero and will have to use his own discretion to fight the bad guys.” Shyam hopes to become an engineer. His father, M. Senthil Yathave, who works in a bank, said: “I’ll be glad if he makes it to the IITs. But once he is done with his higher education, I would prefer that he stays in the country rather than go abroad and uses his talents to empower our economy.”
Arjun.S, one of the nine winners and a Class 10 student from Velammal Vidhyashram, Surapet, Chennai, is also the founder and president of his company “LaterLogics”. Arjun won the Google India award for his application “Locatera”. Arjun said, “Locatera is a complete school transport management system. With the help of the app, parents as well as the school can track the location of the school bus on the internet. When students board the bus, the attendant scans their identity cards and their attendance on the bus is automatically confirmed.” Arjun said that his application is already being used by some schools in Chennai. He has also been hired by an app developer firm in Chennai where he gets to work part-time and learn on the job.