The ‘Multi-Fun’ Harness Energy from Vibrations of Aircraft Wings, Wins at UNESCO & Make India Proud

by Giz TimesJune 15, 2015


Indians have got the brains to do it every time. And they have done it again! With their marvelous brilliance, 5 Indians located at 5 different countries, worked virtually to create a model which can disrupt the aviation industry forever. By beating around 1500 students, these now ‘famous five’ have proven to be brilliant.

More than 15,000 students from more than 600 universities participated in the UNESCO-AIRBUS Fly Your Ideas Competition held in Hamburg, Germany. Its prestigious competition initiated by Airbus in 2009, wherein the participants are required to implement one idea which can transform the aviation industry, and instill a new paradigm of innovation aided with technology.

For 2015 competition, total of 518 ‘multi-disciplinary’ teams submitted their projects by December, 2014, out of which 100 teams were selected representing 413 students from 48 countries. Out of these selected students, 45% were based in Asia-Pacific region, 35% in Europe and 15% in America. Interestingly, 50% of the winners of Round 1 were female students.

After rigorous examination, and several rounds, 8 teams from 13 countries were selected for the final round, which began in May, 2015. The panel of judges comprised of veterans from aviation industry, with representatives from major airlines. The panel was led by Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering. The competition was supported by UNECSO.



The ‘Multi-Fun’ Harness Energy from Vibrations of Aircraft Wings

The ‘Multi-Fun’ Harness Energy from Vibrations of Aircraft Wings

  1. Satishkumar Anasuya Ponnusami, (M.Sc Aerospace Engineering , IISc), who is currently pursuing PhD at the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands- Team Leader
  2. Damotharan Veerasamy (M.Sc Aerospace Engineering, IISc), who is currently pursuing PhD at City University, London
  3. Shashank Agarwal and Ajith Moses, currently pursuing their PhDs at the Nonlinear Multifunctional Composite Analysis and Design (NMCAD) laboratory, Aerospace Engineering Department at IISc
  4. Mohit Gupta (Indian Academy of Sciences Fellow at the NMCAD lab at IISc), who is currently pursuing his M.S at Georgia Tech, USA

Mentor: Assistant Professor Dineshkumar Harursampath, from Aerospace Engineering Department at IISc.

The 5 members of this team were located at 5 different countries. Using communication tools such as Skype and other messengers, they collaborated 24*7, and worked on the idea simultaneously. They met for the first time during the last round of competition in Germany.



The team decided to understand the aero-dynamics of aircraft wings, which vibrate naturally during flight. The idea revolved around working on the wings’ composite skin which can harvest energy from these vibrations. Using Piezoelectric fibres, which can gather electrical charges from even the slightest vibration during a flight, they stored the energy generated in tiny battery panels which were integrated in fuselage.

This newly generated energy was later used to power auxiliary in-flight appliances such as lighting and entertainment systems. Further research revealed that these small bursts of energy can drastically reduce the energy footprint of any aircraft during a flight, thereby conserving energy on a larger scale. As per the panelists, such is the potential that this alternate form of energy can replace the entire power source, right from the ground operations to in-flight tasks.

The brilliant Indian brains successfully harvested energy from the natural vibrations of an aircraft wing, thereby winning 1st prize and won €30,000 for their unique invention.

What a win! They have truly inspired many and made India proud, for their innovation is simply fantastic.

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