Early this year Saanvi Mehra (15), a class X student of the CISCE-affiliated Shriram Millennium School, Noida, was adjudged winner of the online Google India Code to Learn Contest 2020.
The prize-winning entry of this young social activist was a machine learning model which identifies newborns with Down Syndrome — a genetic disorder which causes intellectual delay and slows the cognitive development of 20,000 children per year nationwide — through hi-resolution images. If detected early as Saanvi’s model — which has since been integrated into a free-of-charge Down Syndrome Detection mobile application — does, the worst effects of Down Syndrome can be mitigated.
This is not the first time this inventive teen has won this competition. Four years ago when she was in class VI, she ideated a digital textbooks donation platform to distribute school texts among children of poor households. That app was also declared a winner in the Google India Code to Learn Contest, 2016.
Initiated in 2015, the Google India Code to Learn Contest — an initiative of the Indian subsidiary of tech giant Google Inc, USA — is open to students of classes V-XII countrywide. The 2020 national contest introduced a new Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) category for class IX-X students with participants provided a Google Cloud Auto ML engine to enable their projects.
The elder of two children of Vibhor, a private equity investor and corporate advisor, and Smriti Mehra, a senior software professional at Adobe Systems, Saanvi attributes her prize winning digital innovations to sustained parental and school support. “Shriram Millennium is very supportive of new ideas and innovations. I’m especially grateful to my computer teacher Shalini Khurana for her valuable guidance in both versions of the contest,” acknowledges this young digital native.
With time on her hands because CISCE has cancelled the class X ICSE board exams due to Covid-19 pandemic risk, Saanvi is ideating her next innovation. “I want to do my bit for social causes such as education, employment and healthcare. I believe technology-driven solutions/apps can transform the lives and livelihoods of underprivileged children very quickly,” says this young innovator with a strong social conscience.
Paromita Sengupta (Bengaluru)