Overuse of tissue leads UAE-based teen to invent a frugal dispenser
Frustrated on seeing the overuse and even misuse of tissues in malls and schools, a Grade 9 student has invented a radio-frequency controlled tissue dispenser that he has installed at his school in Sharjah. Using the coding skills he learnt from YouTube videos, Sidharth Vattezhath has programmed the device in such a way that each student/staff at school can only use it for a maximum of five times in a day. The 14-year-old has made around 10 radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards for trial purpose that one must tap on the tissue dispenser for the machine to dispense tissues.
The student of Leaders Private School, Sharjah, said: "RFID card is similar to the Dubai metro's NoL card. It uses the same technology. Users are given a RFID card with a chip inside it, when the card touches the RFID reader, the card emits a radio frequency which can be customised to the number of tissues one wants it to dispense in a day. This kind of a reader is usually used in offices for access control system (to check attendance of employees)."
Talking about what led to the invention, Sidharth said: "The UAE is said to have a very high tissue consumption rate and I come across people and even students, mindlessly taking out too many tissues. This would bother me. And when one day my school coordinator spoke to me about the overconsumption of tissue in school washrooms, I decided to do something about it."
Sidharth, whose favourite subject is science, said he has always wanted to use his talent and education to benefit the society and he thought what better way to start with than his own school.
"I had always liked the RFID attendance system in our school where we would tap our identification cards to mark our attendance. So when I thought of the problem and the solution, I had to take into account the whole school including students and staff. This is when it struck me that why not have the RFID card for the tissue dispenser. And I realised this technology can really restrict people from overusing tissues," he said.
Sidharth said he combined three types of technologies to make the customised tissue dispenser - the RFID reader, dispenser and the motherboard, which is the brain of the dispenser.
His school principal Rafia Zafar Ali said: "Sidharth's initiative and effort is commendable. The RFID-controlled tissue paper dispenser installed in our school is a novel idea. It spread awareness among students and employees on the need of controlled usage of tissue papers. We are happy to see our student's efforts to save the environment and look for solutions even at such a young age. This initiative will help creating a conducive environment for innovation and would be beneficial in terms of cost as well."
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