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Dubai-based Indian teenager tops regional finalist list in international science contest

An Indian teenaged boy based in Dubai has topped the list of 100 regional finalists for a prestigious international science fair contest for his project to minimise power wastage and make street lights smarter, according to a media report.

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An Indian teenaged boy based in Dubai has topped the list of 100 regional finalists for a prestigious international science fair contest for his project to minimise power wastage and make street lights smarter, according to a media report.

Shaamil Karim, a grade 11 student of the Indian High School in Dubai, was selected for the Google Science Fair global contest from thousands of entries, the Gulf News reported on Saturday.

His project detects if a car or person is passing by and makes the next street light brighter and the previous light dimmer, saving energy, the report said.

Instead of using expensive infrared-based motion detectors, the 15-year-old computer whizkid from Chennai used photo-resistors to detect the shadow cast by passing cars or people.

Once a shadow is sensed, the next street light brightens up for the approaching road user while the previous one dims down.

"For safety reasons, you cannot have the street lights off and then suddenly come on - as in the corridors in buildings - so the solution is to make them smarter by brightening and diming where and when appropriate," the report quoted Karim as saying.

The teenager said his project would be around 63 per cent cheaper than infrared-based sensors as it would only need photo-resistors, cables and a micro-controller to fit to existing street lights in developing countries.

According to Karim, his father was his inspiration to come up with a solution for power wastage.

"We were at a park late at night and all the lights were switched on. My dad said, 'Can't we do something about this?' I decided to do my project to make street lights smart," he said.

The global 20 finalists are expected to be announced this month. 

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