Moved by the difficulties her grandfather faced, Shalini Kumari invented a walker that ultimately landed her in NIF-India’s league of winners. A walker to help the physically weak climb stairs was designed by her when she was only in class 9! Read further to know about her invention’s journey from an idea to a product in the market.
Shalini Kumari’s grandfather, who loved spending time on his terrace garden, became dependent on a walking aid when he met with an accident. Unable to walk without a support, he was restricted to the ground floor and could not go for a daily walk in his beautiful garden.
“The walker he used could not be used on stairs and he had to stay on the ground floor only. I felt really bad when I saw this and I wondered if I could adjust the walker in a way that it could be used on the stairs as well,” says Kumari.
The incident in 2011 gave this 12-year-old girl an interesting idea to make an adjustable walker that could be used everywhere.
She came up with a design of a walker with a spring and self-locking front legs. The user has to push the front legs of the walker on the upper stair and the rear legs rest on the lower stair which makes the walker stable and strong enough to hold the weight on it, enabling the user to climb the stairs.
This adjustable walker also has a foldable seat, a horn and a light attached to it. The walker can take up to 100 kg weight and can be adjusted to different environments.
This amazing idea was ready to be implemented but the biggest challenge came while giving shape to the innovation. Kumari didn’t have enough resources and experience to make a device like this all by herself. “I was just a class 9 student then. I didn’t know how to materialize it,” she says.
Then she heard about National Innovation Foundation’s (NIF-India) IGNITE awards for young innovators. This was exactly what Kumari needed at that time.
“I already knew about NIF-India through my brother’s friend who had received an award from them earlier. And I thought this could be my best opportunity,” she says.
She then inked her idea on paper, made various designs and illustrations to explain it and submitted them to IGNITE.
To her surprise, the idea was shortlisted and the NIF-India team developed the final product for her. They experimented with different materials and designs, tested the prototypes and went through several iterations of redesigning and reproductions. After five prototypes, they were ready with the final model.
“It was a great feeling as only few students were shortlisted from over 4,000 applications and I was one of them,” she says.
The final mode,l which is ready to market, has been transferred to Nagpur-based firm Kaviraa Solutions. The company plans to produce 10,000 such walkers. A patent has been filed in Kumari’s name for the product and she will be getting royalty for each product sold.
A rehabilitation centre has expressed an interest in obtaining this product and NIF-India is currently in talks with them to formalize the process. She is also expected to receive a prize money worth Rs. 2,00,000 which she will be handing over to her parents to use for her further education.
“Meeting and receiving the national innovation award from the former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was the biggest moment for me and I could not ask for more,” she says.
Currently a 12th grade Biology student, Kumari wants to pursue a career in Medicine and loves to dance and paint in her free time. She was also featured in Tennovation, a program on Zee Q based on child innovators identified with NIF-India’s help.
With students as young as Kumari coming up with such interesting innovations, our country’s future seems to be in bright hands.
To know more about her innovation and for any business queries, contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
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