Three engineering students from the Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, have successfully come up with an innovative device to keep riders safe while also assisting in navigation.
Milind Manoj, Pradeep Parthasarathy and Riya Gangamma participated in the Indian Innovation Design Contest, an initiative of the Government of India, in 2017.
Here, the trio presented their retrofitted device — NAVisor, that currently only fits a full-sized helmet with a chin guard and guides the user on their journey. The device connects to a mobile app via Bluetooth and directs the rider with LED illuminations and earphones attached inside the helmet.
The Smart Augmented Reality helmet for Enhanced Safety and Driving Assistance (SARmet) was one of the 10 winners of the competition. In 2018, Milind and his friends launched the startup PupilMesh to develop the device further and commercialise it.
Explaining the operational aspects of the device, the 23-year-old says, “The device syncs with MapmyIndia, a tech company offering digital maps for navigation to direct the user. If there is a left turn round the corner, the red LED lights on the left illuminate and vice versa.”
Milind, the young CEO of the company, says the lights are bright enough to guide riders through the journey and not distract or affect their vision. “This was one of the challenges we faced while building the device when at times the lights were too bright or too dull. Making the device of the correct size was equally challenging, as it could not be bulky or affect one’s visibility,” he adds.
“A refined product was conceived after 12 engineers worked for two years to build a one-dimensional augmented reality (AR) device that remains in the field of vision and works efficiently in all weather conditions,” Milind tells The Better India.
The device weighs 7.8 grams with a 750mAh lithium-polymer battery that charges in two hours and lasts up to a minimum of three days. The lights come with automatic brightness adjustments that change according to the weather conditions.
Other features of the NAVisor include music and talk time up to 11 hours, 300 mW speaker power, 105 dB microphone sensitivity and noise control.
Check out the video of how NAVisor works.
Tejas SK, a marketing professional, has used the device for over three months. “It has made my riding experience better. The device has been useful in rainy conditions, as it is not possible to risk removing phone from their pocket to search for directions at a time like that. Also, during long rides, navigation apps drain one’s mobile battery too,” he says.
He adds that the NAVisor helps to save one’s phone battery. “The audio module enables you to answer calls without accessing your cell phone.”
Over 100 users have tried the device, which costs Rs 3,500. The startup has received 40 pre-orders so far, and aims to reach 100 by July 2021.
With funding of Rs 20 lakh from IIM-Bangalore, it also received support from Texas instruments and SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) and IIT Bombay.
“The devices will be delivered to customers by September this year,” Milind says, adding, “I hope the device helps to reduce road risks and make navigation easy for all.”
To pre-order NAVisor, contact 9632004920.
Edited by Yoshita Rao