October 12, 2010
School of Engineering, Amritapuri
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeettham has once again underlined the significance of research and development for furthering social causes.
Mr. M. Krishnakumar, a faculty member of Computer Science and Engineering department at the Amritapuri campus has designed a new cost-effective device to ensure human safety at unmanned railway crossings.
“There are nearly 1110 unmanned railway crossings in the jurisdiction of the Southern Railway alone,” he shared. “Posting human guards at all these crossings can not only be very expensive but also quite impractical.”
The device, named Train Proximity Detector, works in three stages. In the first stage, sound and vibrations are captured using Piezoelectric sensors, which are set up at different places along the railway track.
In the second stage, after the signal acquisition, the signals are processed; they are conditioned and amplified to the desired level. In the third and final stage, the signals are analyzed. If a train is nearing, a danger siren is produced and a red light is flashed. People get a visual as well as an auditory alarm.
Would the device work in inclement weather conditions also?
“Certainly,” explained Mr. Krishnakumar. “The device takes as input, only sound and vibrations, so light conditions and weather conditions do not limit its operation.”
Accidents at railway crossings are on the rise; as such, this device could prove to be a blessing in many ways.
Mr. Krishnakumar’s work was recently featured prominently in a Malayalam daily newspaper.
What motivated him to develop the device and how long did it take him to do so?
“Our Chancellor Amma is always encouraging us to do research for benefitting social causes. This was the source of my inspiration. It took me nearly two years to transform the idea into a practical working model. I began in 2008.”
Mr. Krishnakumar is currently also working on making another device that could be used to locate survivors of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.
Currently enrolled for his Ph.D. (part-time) in Cochin University of Science and Technology under the guidance of Dr. Pramod K. V., Mr. Krishnakumar is studying the topic of Signal Separation as part of his doctoral research.
“Congrats for the innovation that will potentially help thousands,” stated Associate Dean, Dr. Balakrishnan Shankar. “It is heartening to see such research activities from our faculty members.”
Added Dr. M. R. Kaimal, Chairperson of Computer Science Department, “The Department wishes to place on record our appreciation of your efforts to develop the innovative device. We expect many more such novel ideas from you.”