Thiruvananthapuram: Engineering students in the state capital have developed emergency power banks for people marooned in the flood. The armed forces on Saturday began aerial-dropping hundreds of these power banks in flooded areas as the stranded would have exhausted the battery charges of cell phones.
Inspire, a fraternity of mechanical engineering students at the Government Engineering College at Barton Hill, initiated the production of such equipment after reports emerged of people running out of battery charge in flooded areas and losing a vital communication facility.
The product is a temporary assembly of batteries, holder and data cable. Phones which have got switched off due to lack of battery charge can be recharged up to 20 per cent at a single shot. The power bank is wrapped in bubble pack for aerial dropping.
The power banks were prepared on models found in the YouTube. The first instalment of 100 power banks were handed over to rescue teams. A second batch of 200 will follow on Sunday.
Some of the electric stores at Thakaraparambu were willing to provide the parts at a low price. But the stocks in the city exhausted within two days and hence the students are shopping in Thanjavur. The district administration has told the students that apart from flood-affected people, volunteers also need power banks.
The use-and-throw power banks are made by fixing four 1.5-volt batteries on a holder and linking it to a data bank. They take time to charge and boosts the phone battery only by 20 per cent. The students are also considering production of more powerful power banks with eight batteries.