Paromita Sengupta (Bengaluru)
Ahmedabad-based Aryan Rajvanshi (16) is a teenage prodigy representing the growing tribe of social innovators countrywide. Last November, a six-minute documentary video featuring his breakthrough innovation MechaCrop was showcased at the United Nations’ Global Impact Summit — a global initiative to support young innovators — in New York (USA). MechaCrop integrates AI and drone technology to identify and detect crop diseases, monitor crop growth, yield, and quality.
A class XI student of the Cambridge International-affiliated Anand Niketan International School, Ahmedabad, Aryan was inspired to build MechaCrop during a 2020 family trip to Udaipur. “We saw the bodies of two farmers from a nearby village lying on the road in a pool of blood. Unable to pay back their farm loans, they had taken the extreme step of ending their lives by suicide. That visual hit me hard, and made me determined to help our neglected farmers. I put my passion for computer programming to use and MechaCrop was born,” recalls Aryan, the elder of two children of Ashish Rajvanshi, a corporate professional, and Ritu, a primary school teacher.
The project was selected to be presented at the Sutardja Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley last April (2023), and was shortlisted as the best AI initiative by the jury which invited Aryan to showcase it at the United Nations Global Impact Summit.
“Our vice principal Monica Nanda has been especially supportive of my initiative, brainstormed ideas at different project stages, and is a constant source of inspiration. And since the school curriculum doesn’t cover AI or drone technology, I learnt through Coursera and in collaboration with the California-based InSpirit AI,” says Aryan, who also ran a fund-raising campaign for the enterprise.
After completing his A levels, Aryan intends to enroll in an engineering degree programme in the US with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as his majors. “In the long term, I want to spend my life in India fulfilling my commitment towards the nation’s farmers with fully developed models of MechaCrop,” says this youngster and live advertisement of the power of self-learning.
Wind beneath your wings!