‘Necessity is the mother of all inventions.’
This phrase could not have been more relevant in S. Saravanamuthu’s life. In 2014, his wife Krishnammal was bedridden for three months after a surgery rendering her dependent on her family for even the smallest everyday tasks.
Both of them felt helpless. So, 40-year-old Saravanamuthu developed a bed with an attached toilet pot that helps a patient relieve herself without anyone’s assistance.
Speaking to The Better India (TBI), the resident of Tamil Nadu’s Thalavaipuram, Saravanamuthu says,
It was very difficult for my wife to depend on people, something she has never done in her life. She preferred controlling herself over asking for people’s help. This was affecting her health, so I decided to make a bed with a provision of a toilet.
A welder by profession, it was not very difficult for Saravanamuthu to create the bed. The invention worked, and his wife was saved from the embarrassment of soliciting the aid of others.
How the Remote-Controlled Toilet Bed works
The cot is fitted with a 12 V battery to operate two gear motors for moving the attached toilet pot vertically and sideways. He has also incorporated a remote-controlled flushing system for the pot, which makes it easy for the user to flush after use.
It comes with a flush tank, a closet and a pipe connected to the septic tank. The patient can operate the toilet with the help of a remote. The buttons help them open the shutter and the closet as well as flushing the toilet.
From A Labourer to a National Innovation Prize Winner
After a regional newspaper wrote about his invention, Saravanamuthu got his first order in 2015 from a man in Chennai whose mother had been bedridden for six years. Gradually, as word got around, the requests for his invention increased.
However, being an uneducated daily-wage labourer, and a lack of confidence, stopped him from continuing with making the beds. Besides, he did not have that kind of financial resources.
“When I told people about a demand for a similar bed in Chennai, they didn’t take me seriously. While some people ridiculed me, some of my family members encouraged me,” says Saravanamuthu. Nonetheless, he asked the Chennai man for advance and sent the bed to him.
Finally, a few months later, he got an opportunity to speak to the former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, who motivated him to apply for the National Innovation Foundation, a government undertaking that helps strengthen technological innovations at the grassroots level.
The man applied and against his expectations, he won!
He received a trophy, a certificate and Rs 2 lakh from President Ram Nath Kovind along with a reimbursement of Rs 35,000 for making the prototype.
So, has life changed after the recognition and commendations from the President of India?
“Not really,” says Saravanamuthu. “The only difference is that my fellow villagers have started taking me more seriously. The ones who criticised earlier are now treating me with respect.”
Since he won the award, he has been receiving orders from across the country with over 350 requests from Chennai alone. But due to financial constraints, he is not accepting further orders.
I am still a daily wage labourer, and getting that kind of money at once is still difficult. Financial help would make a lot of difference, he says.
Regarding his future goals, he says, “I have two goals – make a fuel-free car and become a role model for my children.” Saravanamuthu has already started working on making an emission-less car and hopes to complete his project soon.
Despite having received no formal education or training, facing criticism from villagers and lack of financial resources, Saravanamuthu managed to carve out his niche. It is people like him who prove that the only thing required on the road to success is hard work.
For the people who ever thought their idea or creation is insignificant, my advice would be never to give up. I failed multiple times before making the right prototype for my wife. Had I given up because of external factors, my wife would have continued to be embarrassed. There is no alternative to hard work, says Saravanamuthu.
As we end the telephonic conversation with Saravanamuthu, he gives his parting message and says, “Congratulations in advance to all those who are planning to create something on their own!”
To know more about his invention, you can call S.Saravanamuthu on this number: 9585475039
Know more about the ATL Tinkering Innovation Marathon here.
Edited By Saiqua Sultan