Teenager’s energy-generating doors secure Ukraine patent


A Ukrainian teenager has celebrated becoming the first student in the history of his school to receive a patent from a prestigious national technology institution.

Ilya Ryabko’s invention uses the opening and closing of doors to generate electrical energy.

The 13-year-old pupil from the Ohr Avner 144 School in Dnepropetrovsk was acknowledged by the National Technical University of Ukraine in Kiev.

He has also been offered a place at the university when he finishes at the school – where ORT runs a series of STEM programs.

The energy-generating doors project will be used, Ilya hopes, for running the school’s fire alarm system and potentially for charging pupils’ mobile phones, and was created with a converter, a battery and an automatic door for less than $165 (USD).

Ilya’s brother, David, has also been acknowledged for his invention of a baseball cap for the visually impaired which beeps to warn of obstacles in the user’s path. The cap’s ultrasound sonar scans the space ahead of the walker and if an object appears, the cap beeps faster as it gets nearer.

His prototype was made using an ORT-branded baseball cap for less than $50 (USD).

Ilya and David Ryabko show off their inventions

Their projects were developed during after-school classes, using knowledge gained during their computer science and technology lessons, as well as through online courses and webinars organized by ORT.

Ilya’s other projects have included a ‘smart crossing’ to make pedestrians safer when crossing roads and a system which helps detect the possibility of landslides by measuring moisture in the ground.

“I wanted to become a doctor, but after I became interested in robotics I decided to combine my dreams and try to create projects that will help in treating people or in rehabilitation for injuries,” he explained.

David, 14, said the brothers had been inspired when an informatics lesson at their school engaged them in robotics.

The pair are among thousands of students in the region who, thanks to ORT’s focus on STEM education and practical innovation, are unlocking their potential.

Olga Borisenko, the Ryabkos’ computer science and technology teacher, said: “There are children in our school who are fascinated by technology and the creation of robotics projects.

“We always emphasize that the project should be useful for the community or work to solve one of the problems in the community. Children learn to think about creating something fundamentally new.”

She said students had also benefitted from taking part in regional and national robotics competitions. The Ryabkos were among the highly-praised contestants at the Polyteco Ukraine competition in 2018 – it serves as a national stage of the global science and engineering fair run by Intel.

Olga added: “Children get into the environment of like-minded people and gain personal competitiveness – this helps them understand what they need to work further on for their self-development.”

Taking a closer look at a project

David added: “Before participating in the competition, I carefully study the criteria for evaluating the works in order to understand how the jury members will evaluate me, and I try to make my answers correspond to each of the criteria points.”

Ilya said: “The results always make me happy and motivate me to develop and move on. I often communicate with the jury after the contest in order to understand what to look for in the future.”

Natalia Medvedeva, director of ORT Dnepro, said: “We are moving in the right direction in terms of supporting and teaching gifted children. Thanks to ORT resources, we have modern equipment that allows us to perform and demonstrate children’s inventions at a high level.

“The unique development of thematic courses and teaching materials made by ORT staff and teachers allow us to design interesting lessons, thereby attracting talented students to the world of science and technology, the world of engineering and inventions.”