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‘During the second wave, I saw my Covid-infected grandmother gasp for breath. So, I created a mask that can supply oxygen’

Sarthak Sharma, student of Apeejay School, Kharghar, aims to help thousands of people with his idea. The young achiever is soon to present his mask-prototype at a National-level competition.

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The second wave of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic spared no one. The number of Covid-19 infections reported in India at that time is proof of how many people suffered in the nation. With that, families underwent physical, emotional and psychological turmoil.

One such was the Sharma family residing in Mumbai where Sarthak Sharma, a class 7 student of Apeejay School, Kharghar saw his grandmother suffer from the Covid-19 infection. Due to the nation-wide shortage of oxygen cylinders, the family ended up paying a hefty sum of money to access one. While Sarthak was witness to these challenges, he came up with an idea to turn the struggle into an opportunity. The teenager soon devised a mask that can supply oxygen to patients for up to two hours. In an interview, he describes his project which recently got shortlisted for the INSPIRE Awards – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge), a programme by the Government of India that fosters science-based creativity and innovative thinking amongst students.Edited excerpts:  

How does the oxygen-mask help patients?

The mask is connected with a device that takes in air from the environment. Given its advanced mechanism, this device is enabled to convert the air into oxygen and supply it to the patient.   

What are the raw materials used in its making?

I used a pump, PVC sheet, charging module, mask, a poly-fusion set and battery, to name a few.

How much does the mask and device together weigh? Is it easy to carry?

Yes, they are portable. Together the set weighs 150 grams.

Can the device become a hot-selling product in the market? How?

Yes, absolutely. It is a use-and-throw mask which will be relevant even in the post-pandemic world. Seeing the high levels of pollution in our environment, its utility will only increase going forward. Such a mask can be used in ambulances and even at homes for patients with respiratory issues.  

What could be its cost price?

Rs. 600/-. I want to ensure that the mask is easily affordable for one and all. An oxygen cylinder can cost up to thousands of rupees and this mask can help save that cost for people. 

What is your career aspiration?

I want to be a software entrepreneur in the future.

Any entrepreneurs you look up to?

Lenskart founder Peyush Bansal and BharatPe MD and co-founder Ashneer Grover. I love how they both have turned their respective businesses around and are currently mentoring young entrepreneurs of the country.  

Mrini Devnani is Senior Correspondent (Newsroom). She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has a passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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