Bright Ripe - How Ripe Are You?

I want to help the agricultural industry and help reduce food wastage.

Photo of Meghana Boda
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Eligibility: Please confirm you meet all the following criteria

  • You are aged between 14 - 18 as of August 1, 2020
  • You live in the United States or its territories
  • You are not employed by, or directly related (grand parents, parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
  • You have been working on this project for at least three months
  • You consent to us possibly featuring your work on social media
  • You confirm you have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form

Eligibility: Date of Birth

March 22, 2006

What gender do you identify with?

  • Female

Help us stay in touch!

Phone Number: 7409719444 Address: 1672 Summersweet Cir. State: Ohio City: Lewis Center Zip Code: 43035

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Instagram: @meghana.boda Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meghana.boda

Date You Started Your Project Started

12/01/2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Currently, apple picking methods involve a lot of manual labor. Approximately 1.3 million apples are getting wasted per year. Apple harvesting is a significant component in agriculture, and with a proper commercial system and innovative technology, the revenue from apple harvesting will be greater, thus saving money and time. Therefore, my design, Bright Ripe, addresses the harvesting issue and is an effective solution in the harvesting industry.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Bright Ripe is a harvesting device that utilizes a circuit to determine whether an apple is ripe or not. Using the principle where each color absorbs different amounts of light, I was able to build a circuit that could indicate whether my apple was ripe or not. When the apple reflected light back and the resistance was really high, meaning the fruit is unripe, the indicating LED didn’t light up. On the other hand, when the resistance that the photoresistor received was really low, the indicating LED lit up because the apple was ripe. The color green is considered to be darker than red in the color spectrum; for this reason, it absorbed more light and gave the photoresistor more resistance. On the other hand, the color red is considered to be lighter, so the apple absorbed less light, giving less resistance to the photoresistor. The purpose of this experiment is to help the apple harvesting industry be more efficient in commercial production methods.

3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.

My project addresses an environmental challenge, and it includes the components of STEM. The way that STEM was incorporated into my project was because, in order to fully understand circuitry, you need to understand all the components that make it work. You need to learn the science behind it, and that’s exactly what I did in order to fully understand what each component did, and which parts I should place where. Circuitry is also a form of technology, and therefore I used the components of STEM in this project. The way that math was incorporated in my project was to calculate the amount of resistance in the circuit. I would consider my project to be an environmental challenge because, without this invention, the agriculture industry and the merchandise industry will continue to lose time and money. Therefore being the reason how I am using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Growing up, me and my sister used to always pick apples from my neighbor’s apple tree. I remember all the days I spent with my neighbors and friends picking apples. My younger self, then noticed that all the apples on the same tree were ripening at different times. Not knowing how terrible this could be, I didn’t do anything about it back then, but now that I have researched more about it, I know that this is giving a great deal of losses to the agricultural industries, merchandise industries, and the customers. With apples ripening at different times, farmers may not know when all the apples are ready to be picked, and unwittingly, they might even have the possibility of getting overripe. Approximately 1.3 million apples are wasted per year due to improper harvesting. It was at that moment that I realized I wanted to do something about it.

5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

Some of the key activities that I carried out and am glad that I did, were things like experimenting with the circuit - figuring out which parts do what, starting out with simple tasks such as make an LED light up, then to more complicated things like using a multimeter to calculate the amount of resistance in the circuit. I feel like without these key activities, I wouldn’t have been able to bring my project to life.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

My invention is a pretty unique idea. I feel like in this day and age where most people are provided good food all they want, they don’t realize how much actually goes into it. Apple harvesting is currently being used ineffectively, and not many seem to realize how big of an issue this can be. So much food is getting wasted per year all due to improper harvesting, so we need to do something about it. I feel like my project is unique because it is not addressing a problem that many tend to notice.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?

My project is still at the idea-stage. I think first things first, it would be ideal to educate the younger population about this problem first. Teaching younger generations would really help because they are at the age where they can think creatively to help the current situation. However, educating grown-ups also matters due to their professional backgrounds. Without the proper knowledge, I don’t see a reason for how my project could make a larger impact. I think maybe creating clubs to educate people, or some sort of fun interactive lesson would make it more well known.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The next step to continuing this project would be to connect my current prototype with another prototype that is meant to move and suck apples off the tree, almost as a vacuum would. This vacuum-like prototype is also being built so it would be ideal for my design to combine with theirs to create something even better. The goal would be that if the indicating LED lights up, meaning that the apple is ripe, the indicating LED should send a signal to the robotic device to suck the apple off the tree and move it to something that acts as a crate, and this could potentially make harvesting a lot more efficient.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

I presented my project in my local science fair, however, I haven’t yet influenced anyone to get involved. I plan on creating advertisements to show the benefits of Bright Ripe, which leads hand in hand to caring about environmental sustainability. Additionally, the girls at my Girl's Who Code Club at Otterbein University would love to hear about my project. I could showcase my project and allow them to understand how this problem is affecting the economy.

11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

I would work with other changemakers in order to learn some new things that I didn’t know before, and I would work to teach them some things I know. For example, I’m interested in robotics, so I would love to learn some robotics from other changemakers and since I know the languages Python, HTML & CSS, and Javascript, I could work with them to teach them some coding if they would like to learn about that.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

I would create advertisements through social media platforms to bring awareness to this project. Additionally, I would host workshops to demonstrate my project and explain the problem of improper harvesting and the solution, Bright Ripe. In these workshops, I would describe how Bright Ripe can reduce manual labor. I would also state that my design will work with other designs to also pick the apples if they are ripe. I would also talk about how Bright Ripe addresses food wastage.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support

References

Jeremy Arend, jeremy_arend@olsd.us, 614-203-8214 Nalini Boda, nsboda@gmail.com, 740-803-0837 Ram Boda, rkboda@gmail.com, 740-803-0836

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

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2 comments

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Photo of Ali Hussein
Team

Hi Meghana! Bright Ripe is a great idea that could be paired with other apple picking technology to improve the efficiency and reduce total waste. I really enjoyed your demo and appreciate your usage of simple materials to showcase how the system operates! A couple of thoughts that came to mind as I read about your project: (1) Can this be applied to other types of apples, i.e. green or yellow? (2) Could the size of the apple be used as an additional input to determining whether its ripe or not? Perhaps an additional sensor such as a camera can be used? Great work overall and I wish you the best of luck!!

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