In 2012 when the Delhi gang rape of a young student Nirbhaya shocked the nation, Siddharth Mandala was a 12 year old who attended the protest marches and candlelight vigils with his mother.
Young Siddharth always felt the angst- what if the victim was his mother, sister or friend? He was frustrated waiting for justice for Nirbhaya and thousands of other nameless victims. Frustrated that the judicial system moved at a snail’s pace, at the age of 15, he decided to do something himself.
Siddharth has proved that all is not lost in the world after all. Siddharth Mandala, from Hyderabad has developed a shoe that can save women from stalkers and creepy men. Behold the ‘ElectroShoe’ that will thwart all molesters.
How? Well, the shoe has a feature that can actually give an electric shock to the attacker.
The ‘ElectroShoe’ can electrocute the perpetrator by inflicting 0.1 ampere of electricity, while sending an alert to cops and family.
In an interview to the Telengana Today, he explained how his shoe actually works. “This (ElectroShoe) is done with the help of a unique circuit board that uses footsteps to charge itself with the help of a concept called the ‘piezoelectric effect,” Mandala said.
“The more the user walks, the more energy is generated and stored in a rechargeable battery. He also said that to electrocute a molester, all a woman would need to do is ensure that the battery is sufficiently charged. The attacker will receive the electric shock the minute the shoe touches his body.”
The invention process was an uphill task as he ran into countless problems. With the help of many great mentors from LinkedIn and social media, he taught himself programming in various languages. The prototype failed 17 times. But he did not give up. Mandala is now hoping that he would be able to get investors, failing which he would take the product directly to retail stores or manufacturing companies.
The Education Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Telengana Kadiyam Srihari awarded Siddharth Mandala with a Letter of Appreciation.
While working on this product, Siddharth also became an “activist” and started an NGO called Cognizance Welfare Initiative (CWI) to spread awareness about rape. He also taught basic coding to government school children, and helped them build their own projects dealing with micro-controllers.
Siddharth was eventually approached by USA-based organisation Empower & Excel to be a part of their Indian Youth Wing as a team leader. They planned to expand in India and were in the process of adopting a school the Khanigiri village. Empower & Excel asked me to lead their tasks from helping children build solid communication skills and improve their literature knowledge to building eco-friendly Ganeshas and conduct book drives.
Siddharth’s story can be an inspiration for many young people who have a burning desire to bring about a social change.