India is constantly innovating in the field of science, technology and healthcare. The country has ranked 48th in the Global Innovation Index (GII) out of 131 economies. This is a ranking of countries as per their innovation capacity and success, conducted every year by the World Innovation Property Index (WIPO), Cornell University, and INSEAD ( business institute). Compared to last year India has moved up by four positions.
Over the years, thanks to innovators who come from different corners of the country, our lives have changed dramatically, especially for the better.
Here are 10 stories of innovators The Better India found that justifies the ranking India has just received.
1.One piece of furniture that turns into 14 shapes
Madhur Sharma, 21, is an architecture graduate, found himself stuck when his hostel room couldn’t accommodate all the furniture he wanted.This inspired him to make a single piece of furniture that takes about one square foot of space and can be converted into a study table, chair, coffee table, and just about anything you would like in a room.
The space-saving, innovative, multi-functional piece of furniture has won many awards and is already sitting in the rooms of eminent designers and architects.
2. Infection-Free Tap
Made of steel, the infection-free tap has two-foot presses at the bottom. If you press the foot press on the right, you get liquid soap and if you press on the left you get running water. The water flows only if you apply pressure on the foot-press. Once you release the pressure on the foot press, the water stops. Not only does it help keep your hands clean, it also saves water.
This device was invented by 35-year-old Tamchos Gurmet, an innovator from Domkhar village in Leh.
3. Solar-powered umbrellas
When Adeeb Mansuri, an engineering student in Ahmedabad, saw cops patrolling his area with little protection from the scorching heat, he knew he had to put his skills and knowledge to use.
He designed two umbrellas that have built-in solar panels with a capacity to generate up to 20 watts. This is used to power charging sockets, and a small fan placed under the umbrella. The solar panels also power a battery that acts as a backup at night.
4. Fleo – Stabilising pen
Ashwathy Satheesan, 23, is a graduate from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. She has invented a stabilising pen named Fleo that helps people with Parkinson’s tremors to write and draw.
It is battery-operated, rechargeable, has ergonomic support, and gives a confident grip to the user. The pen works on gyroscopic principles. For example, a spinning object tries to resist its motion away from its axis; in a similar way, the pen resists the tremors and allows you to write in a controlled way.
Ashwathy was the recipient of the James Dyson Award 2019.
5. Subjee Cooler – Low-cost cold storage facility
Cold storage solutions for agricultural produce are expensive and require uninterrupted electricity supply that most farmers in India cannot afford.
To help these farmers, Rukart Technologies, a Thane-based agri-startup, has developed a machine called the Subjee Cooler.
This is a brick-and-mortar storage facility fitted with a galvanised iron tank, with a covering on top. This device works on the principle of evaporative cooling – a phenomenon, where, when water evaporates and draws energy from its surroundings, produces a cooling effect.
6. UBreathe – Smart-Plant that purifies the air
Two years ago, Delhi faced a serious pollution crisis. According to various news reports, the levels of harmful gases and pollutants in the atmosphere were 20 times higher than the safe limits issued by the World Health Organisation.
To purify the air we breathe, Sanjay Maurya, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur invented a smart biofilter plant-pot named UBreathe. This device combines air-purifying plants with technology to amplify the output of purified air. It is powered by residential electricity, and the air is filtered by a method known as ‘bio-filtration’.
The device is priced at Rs 5000 and is currently sold only in Delhi-NCR as the team is still working on solutions to transport the unit along with soil and the plant, across India.
7. Blind Farming technology
In 2018, Girish Badragond, a famous rural innovator from Bijapur, Karnataka, came across two blind farmers who had leased their farmland to others because they could not practice farming themselves. To help them, he invented a device that he calls Blind Farming Technology.
This device is a digital stick equipped with a sensor that detects the moisture content, nutrition level, and temperature of the soil. The information is announced on an audio system, and the farmer can walk around his field holding the digital stick to get updates.
8. ‘Sanjivani’ – Robot that can segregate waste
Thousands of ragpickers across India earn their livelihoods by collecting, sorting, segregating and selling dry waste such as plastic, paper, glass, etc. But they often do it by hand and come in direct contact with hazardous waste such as syringes, sanitary napkins, and so on.
The Ahmedabad-based startup, Ishitva Robotic Systems (IRS), has come up with a technology-driven solution named Sanjivani. The device automatically sorts or segregates waste that can be recycled. The robot can differentiate between dry waste and sort them into categories of recyclables and non-recyclables.
9. A device that turns cow dung into wood
After watching a video on youtube of a machine that can convert cow dung into strong wood-like logs, 67-year-old Sukhdev Singh, a businessman from Uttar Pradesh, re-created the same.
Using a 5hp electric motor and gearbox, the machine mixes and compresses the raw materials into moulds that produce log-like structures. This is then allowed to dry under the sun to eliminate any remaining moisture or odour.
Singh says that this cow dung log is as strong as wood and has many uses, especially as firewood.
10. Rhino Blocks – made using 100 percent waste
Gujarat-based entrepreneur Manish Kothari came up with an ingenious solution to reduce pollution produced from brick kilns – Rhino bricks. These are made from foundry dust (a combination of silica, clay and carbon) and waste plastic.
As opposed to clay bricks these are 2.5 times stronger and 25 percent lighter. They are also reasonably priced at Rs 10 per piece, making them cost-effective.
(Edited by Sandhya Menon)