India may not be one of the most wheelchair accessible countries in the world, but the government is leaving no stone unturned in a bid to amend the country's rundown reputation. While the country may still have a long road ahead to combat problems faced by people with disabilities, there's no dearth of individual deeds that hint at a much-needed shift from a charity-based attitude to a rights-based approach.
Keeping in line with this, a group of students at 24 institutions in eastern India demonstrated 30 awe-inspiring innovations at a CII meet on innovation and startups in Kolkata. These innovations featured a wheelchair capable of climbing stairs, a walking stick designed for people who are visually impaired that help its user navigate with audio messages, and a one-of-a-kind medicine dispenser that reminds its user when it’s time to take his/her medicine.
Bearing the challenges faced by the aging and ailing individuals when it comes to climbing stairs in mind, JIS College of Engineering's students introduced a wheelchair that can climb stairs using three sets of wheels that work in tandem. The other novelty dubbed, Urja is a multi-purpose electric source which was presented by Silicon Institute of Technology student Anish Kumar Sarangi.
The multi-purpose device can act as a portable power source, a highly effective mosquito repellent, an LED light, a passive water filter, and a USB port that can be used to charge mobile phones or operate USB fans. Sarangi said about two out of every ten people living in Asia, and nearly 300 million people in India, have no access to electricity. Bringing power to them could prove to be an arduous task, Sarangi noted.
"CII has formed innovation clubs at different colleges. Commercially viable projects are selected by the jury," the co-chairman, CII Eastern Region Startup & Innovation Taskforce, Dipankar Chakrabarti said.
Those projects, along with their prototypes, are displayed and some of them adapted in industries. We focus on four main fields: agriculture, education, finance, and health,” Chakrabarti added.
Sudhir Chandra Sur Degree Engineering College students, on the other hand, have come up with a medicine dispenser which can be operated using an app. The dispenser automatically dols out tablets or syrup at the correct time after the user feeds medicine schedules into the dispenser.
Other innovations included a solar AC designed by Narula Institute of Technology. The students of the institute have also invented a smart glove that converts body language into speech in order to simplify communication for individuals with a condition that makes it hard to produce speech sounds accurately.
Students of Jadavpur University have come up with a cabin that arm forces can use at the border. The aforesaid cabin is not only fireproof but also highly durable, compact and light.
MCKV Institute of Engineering students proposed a walking stick and a safety app that sets off as soon as a ring worn by the user touches the mobile. The GPS-equipped stick guides visually impaired individuals with the help of audio directions.
According to Manjit Nayak, Software Technology Parks of India additional director and officer-in-charge, most of the ideas were worth developing into products. “A Class XII student from Bihar came up with a wireless device with which one can remotely control a tractor,” Nayak said.
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