The fuel protector


As fuel prices are skyrocketing, fuel thieves are at large too. But fear not, a 12th grader from the city, has an answer.
Rohan Aanegola, all of 16 years, has devised a gadget and an app that can instantly alert the owner of the vehicle if there is fuel theft.

Aanegola, a student of National Public School, HSR Layout told Bangalore Mirror how he came up with this idea.”A lot of other issues around us are overshadowed as covid-19 hit. Since everyone’s focus was on the pandemic, I turned mine to a much smaller, yet significant problem around me, which was fuel theft. Fuel prices have increased significantly in the past few months, which have led to an increase in its theft. After reading about it frequently in the newspapers, I decided to try and do something about it. After a little bit of research on how fuel is stolen from vehicles, I came up with an idea for the device and the app that controls it,” he said.

This project took him roughly two-and-a-half months. “I started working on it from the middle of March and finished it before June. Apart from fixing the plethora

of bugs in the program itself, I also deliberated the most effective (and cheapest as it costs less than Rs 600) way of detecting the opening of the fuel flap. The device detects a change in temperature or a change in visuals. I had to try out different sensitivities for the temperature sensor

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(by changing the resistance) to see which could work best,” said Aanegola.



Aanegola has fixed a micro-controller with a thermal sensor (which consists of a small wifi-enabled device) behind the petrol flap with a mobile application. The device has a temperature sensor and an inbuilt 95-decibel alarm. When the sensor detects a significant temperature change — maybe because the fuel flap was opened or because of a person’s hand — the alarm on the device goes off and if the owner is within range, the phone’s alarm goes off and a notification is sent too. The device connects to the phone through WiFi and can be controlled using the app downloaded onto the phone. If there is no Wi-Fi, then the local alarm will keep ringing to alert the car owner/driver.

Aanegola, whose father works as a senior manager in a private firm, was firmly behind him in this endeavour, while his mother (a homemaker) helped him test the project and gave him feedback.

Aanegola says there are some drawbacks of the device that can be fixed. For example, the battery drains quickly so it has to be recharged frequently. Also,

while the device alarm sounds no matter where the user is, the phone alarm sounds only when the user is in range. While it hasn’t been tested, the concept could also be utilised for bikes, given that device fits into the bike fuel flap.



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Sagar Biswas

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