M Shagil Ijaz – 12-year-old whiz-kid from TN brought forth by lockdown – The New Indian Express
THOOTHUKUDI: Unlike his peers, the 12-year-old M Shagil Ijaz doesn’t fritter away his post-school hours in computer games. In his tiny rented house in Pullthottam, on Thoothukudi’s George Road, several electronic gadgets, chips, circuit boards, and Bluetooth speakers lie scattered all around. Sitting in a corner, Ijaz is busy on a serious mission.
It all started at the beginning of the pandemic when his father bought him a smartphone for online classes. While his other classmates used the gadget for gaming in their free time, Ijaz utilised his time to learn more about electronics and their complex mechanisms. Not something meant for a young boy, now studying in Class VII, but keen interest, more than necessity, has been the mother of invention, for this tech whiz.
“I was fascinated with gadgets that when my father got me a phone, all I did was search on Google about them. The interest cropped up during my school days when I was given a project to make a windmill,” he smiles. At present, he is working on a gadget that will help the bus drivers to be alert during long rides.
“Many accidents happen as drivers fall asleep. I am creating a device that will buzz automatically when they close their eyes. By installing this device, the number of accidents can be reduced,” says Ijaz.
The boy is a regular visitor to the Complex, a commercial street with over 100 shops, nearly one km off his home. He spends hours there finding the right parts for his devices. If the required product is not available, he orders them online.
A student of Bharat Ratna Kamarajar Matric Higher Secondary school, he became a well-known face in Thoothukudi after he crafted a smart walking stick for visually impaired people to use, which buzzes when met with an obstacle. The stick, made out of a pipe, caught the attention of many.
“I used Ultrasonic Distance Sensor that detects the distance of an obstructing object using sonar and an Arduino Uno development board on the stick,” he says, adding that the Arduino Uno board acts as the brain of the stick. “I have programmed it to raise an alarm at a distance of 25 cm. The kit, operating at a 9V battery, costs around Rs 1,500. The price may increase as the cost of the board almost doubled in the past two years,” Ijaz talks like a seasoned IT geek.
So, who is his mentor? “It’s Google,” he grins. “I gained knowledge about the techniques, operations, and process of every electronic chip, circuit and board by watching videos on YouTube and other social media platforms,” says Ijaz, adding that anything is possible if one has the willingness to learn. Karna Vidya Foundation has asked him to work on an aluminum smart walking stick for the visually impaired. Ijaz says it will be completed soon.
His father AS Madhina, a differently abled person, who runs a mobile tea stall in the locality and earns Rs 15,000 a month, has been squirrelling a part of his earnings for Ijaz to buy his electronic spares. He needs to pay Rs 6,000 as house rent. Madhina, who has 50 per cent disability, receives a monthly aid of Rs 1,000 from the government.
Madhina tells TNIE that Ijaz wanted to become a police officer but his passion took a turn during the lockdown when he got immersed in technology.With many projects lined up, …….