A device that converts pollutants to ink, a driverless bicycle for the disabled, a solar lamp the size of your palm: the IItians of India have come up with many inventions that make our lives simpler.
Here’s another reason to prove that India could become a major contributor to science and technology: the multitude of innovations that come out of India’s 16 IIT campuses. From health care to technology and utility products, check out these smart innovations:
It’s a lamp, USB port and phone charger all rolled into one tiny device the size of your palm. After three years of research, Sachin Kumar from IIT-Bombay invented this solar energy device. His idea was inspired by the need to find alternative options to electricity that does not use kerosene. He teamed up with three of his friends to form Illumind Solartek in 2015, where they’re now manufacturing more of these devices. It sells like hot cakes too; the first batch of 4500 units got sold out in 10 days through door-to-door sales. It costs between Rs 699 and Rs 999.
From the labs of chemical engineering at IIT-Delhi, four students perfected a device that converts pollutants from diesel generators into usable ink. Ishani, Prateek, Kushagra and Arpit developed this idea, which got selected for the Startup India scheme. The device stops pollutant particles from diesel-run generators from being released into air by connecting with the exhaust pipe. It then collects soot (up to 70%) from this smoke. With this soot, it produces ink.
Rishabh Babely, Naman Singhal and Shubham Jaiswal from IIT-Bhubaneshwar invented a helmet that gets three birds with one stone. First, it requires the helmet to be put on and the buckle to be clipped, or the rider will not be able to start the bike. Next, it analyses breath for alcohol, and depending on the level of alcohol content, either starts or stops the bike. Lastly, the helmet is fitted with a bluetooth encryption system that can alert the owner if the bike has been stolen. All this is economical, and easily integrated into the bike. It’s still a prototype model, developed in 2015.
True HB Hemometre
An affordable heamoglobin checker invented by IIT-Delhi’s Ambar Srivastava, this product is the size of a smart phone which can store up to 1000 readings. Developed in 2014, it has been approved by All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) as an efficient tool, which reads blood samples from a strip of paper and gives results in 45 seconds. Currently, a CBC counter costs healthcare centres anywhere between 1 lakh to 2 lakhs, whereas this device costs only Rs 25,000. What’s more, it has rechargeable batteries, lasting for 300 tests after charging, and does not need a continuous power supply.
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In 2013, startup ideaForge, by five IIT-Bombay students (Ankit Mehta, Ashish Bhat, Rahul Singh, Vipul Joshi and Amardeep Singh), developed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) called Netra. The drone was built in collaboration with DRDO, and was used first to great extent to find missing people during the Uttarakhand floods. It looks like a large spider, weighing 1.5 kilograms or less, equipped with a high resolution zoom lens that works both during day and night. It has a range of four kilometres, and a run time of 40 minutes before the next recharge.
An idea that took shape in the incubation cell of IIT-Madras, the S340 E scooter that runs on ‘ather energy’, was developed by Swapnil Jain and Tarun Mehta. It was unveiled in February 2016 by the duo’s startup, Ather Technologies, after three years of research and development. With a Li-ion battery, it can recharge faster than your phone, in less than an hour. The scooter can reach a speed of up to 72 km/h, and is being manufactured in Bengaluru. It also has a touchscreen dashboard, where you can choose scooter profiles, riding modes, set up theft protection, and use navigation. It will costs less than Rs 1 lakh, according to its developers, and is to be sold online only.
A necklace pendant that can alert near and dear ones when you’re in danger, just by pressing the pendant twice. That’s the unique point about this innovation by Paras Batra, Manik Mehta, Ayush Banka, Avinash Bansal and Chiraag, part of Delhi-based startup Leaf. The pendant is connected to the wearer’s phone through an app, which will alert the selected guardians and give a real-time update of where she is through a map. In 2015, the app and pendant were launched through crowdfunding, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.
An innovation by IIT-Rourkee students Parth Gaggar and Vijay Jain, these earphones filter out all the background noise, giving you a clean, disturbance-free listening experience. It is integrated with an app on your smartphone, on which you can select the sounds you want to hear, and adjust the volume. On the other hand, it can also be of great use to deaf people, who can use it to channel what they want to hear. Gaggar and Jain won the Ericsson Innovation Awards in 2015 for this wearable tech.
13 students from IIT-Kharagpur, all from different departments, worked on solving one issue: transportation for the disabled. They turned an ordinary cycle into a hybrid driverless bicycle that works partly on electricity for people who have physical disabilities such as blindness or amputated limbs. The bike took one year to design and develop. Its features include live tracking and wireless connectivity. It costs less than Rs 30,000, as compared to ordinary e-bikes which cost Rs 40,000 and above.
A laptop for Rs 6000, on which you can watch movies, listen to music, and work on documents with preloaded software? It seems impossible to believe, but it’s true. This innovation from IIT-Bombay aims at spreading IT literacy at a very affordable rate. With a body made of plastic, it has 2 USB ports, an HDMI port, an 8 GB nano flash drive and a 1 GB RAM. It runs on FOSSEE (Free Open Source Software for Education), which is a version of Linux. It’s perfect for studying and working on low-intensity apps.
With inputs from Varun Jadia