Young scientist and innovator Gitanjali Rao ignites spark of innovation in young minds at SIBF 2021
Sharjah, 11 November 2021
“Observe, Brainstorm, Research, Build, and Communicate,” urged Gitanjali Rao – a young 15-year-old scientist, innovator, and STEM promoter, as she shared her five-step formula for developing pathbreaking innovations with a large audience of students, youth, and adults at the milestone 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Speaking to a packed hall of visitors at the 2021 edition of SIBF, the young changemaker and the first Kid of the Year on Time magazine cover, said: “Nobody is born an innovator or a problem solver; you learn as you attempt to solve the problem. Think of ideas, foster them.”
She continued: “Finally, remember to take that risk – don’t be afraid of failure. It is okay to fail and make mistakes; that is what kickstarted my innovation journey.”
An inspiration for an entire generation, Gitanjali Rao is using the power of science and technology to invent sustainable solutions to address some of the urgent everyday problems around the globe. Her most recent innovations attempt to tackle grave issues such as cyberbullying and opioid addiction, while previously, she had devised a solution to detect contaminated drinking water. Shocked by the lead contamination in water in communities worldwide, Gitanjali created Tethys, a simple lead detection device that is portable and inexpensive and provides accurate and quick results.
Aiming to create a global community of innovators, Gitanjali told the SIBF audience: “Innovation is what you make it to be. Ideation and innovation do not work when you race against a deadline as you need to foster creativity. The impact of innovations in our community is what inspires me to invent every day. Remember, it all starts from a small idea, and if I can do it, so can you!”
Her attempts to battle cyberbullying led to the creation of ‘Kindly’, an AI-based app that detects and alerts users to words associated with cyberbullying. This allows youngsters to edit their messages and raises awareness of their actions, forcing them to rethink their choice of words.
“By partnering with UNICEF, I aim to integrate Kindly with other platforms, and it can be added to Gmail, Twitter, Instagram, Google Chrome, and more. In addition, youngsters will receive real-time feedback, allowing them to modify their responses,” said the Indian-American student at STEM School Highlands Ranch, Colorado, USA.
Acknowledging the travails of the current generation who are having to battle problems that never existed before, Gitanjali Rao nudged students at SIBF 2021 to find new approaches to solving these issues using the latest scientific developments. The need of the hour is an alternate path to innovation; but how does one innovate?
Inquisitive young minds and aspirational innovators can discover the answers through the step-by-step process outlined in the 15-year-old author’s second book, A Young Innovator’s Guide to STEM: 5 Steps To Problem Solving For Students, Educators, and Parents. This inspirational book is available at SIBF 2021 until November 13 and will help curious minds kickstart their own journey of innovation.
– Images during the session