In recent years, winds of change have been blowing across our country and innovation is the buzzword that is driving thoughts. Although critics may feel that our process is relatively slower vis-a-vis China, none can deny the encouraging spurt of ideas and projects across the country driven by farsighted organisations.
A striking example of thinking of tomorrow today, is the Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) located in Mumbai. Planning for the future comes naturally to this school as it channelises thoughts and resources of the present to provide a new model of design and innovation education – including the commercialisation of
ISDI is a Design & Innovation School where learning is designed to encourage students to disrupt and innovate constantly. The novel methods of teaching employed here have nurtured students’ minds and helped them to translate their ideas into innovations that can dramatically disrupt the existing paradigms. The use of technology for societal impact comes as a refreshing change and demonstrates how India is slowly, but surely, emerging as a major innovation hub. Presented here are four innovative projects developed by ISDI students.
TALKING TREE PROJECT
Planting of trees in India has been propagated for years under many activities such as CSR, NGO and school efforts but, once planted, the main concern remains to monitor, maintain and track the health of these trees. “The Talking Tree” is a design solution that solves the above mentioned problems and thus promises to increase the survival rate of trees once planted.
It also aims to make India a negative carbon country.
Several sensors (moisture, CO2, O2, angle detection, motion, chlorophyll, and voltage/current) are mounted
in the sapling during the growth stage, which relay key parameters to a monitoring interface, with user getting
real-time updates about the planted trees. The project attempts to track and monitor biological parameters of
plants to ensure protection and growth. Powered by
photo-voltaic surfaces activated by sunlight (solar energy) the moisture sensor detects the presence of liquid in Phloem and Xylem tissues, thereby monitoring life in the plant. The embedded gyroscopic sensor measures the tilt of the plant so that if the tree is uprooted or cut down, the monitoring authority is instantly alerted through a text message.
India, with 130 million diabetics, is the diabetes capital of the world. Recognised as a chronic illness, diabetes can be managed through medication, diet and exercise but can’t be cured. Lack of timely care leads to renal failure, blindness and kidney failure, leading to death by multi-organ failure. Insulin, the drug that is injected by diabetic patients every day, needs to be stored between 4 and 8o C. If the thermal sensitivity is not maintained, insulin rapidly degrades. Though this expired insulin doesn’t harm the user, it does not aid the sugar breakdown in the blood. In the short-term, this can cause weakness, fatigue, mental confusion and the life-threatening condition of Hyperosmolar Syndrome among some other fatal conditions. In the long-run these episodes can cause Cardio-Vascular Diseases, Vision Problems as well as Neural Disorders.
Thus it is important to store insulin between 4-8 degrees. While most patients use home refrigerators, repeated exposure to extreme climatic conditions in India also cause the insulin to be ineffective. Thus, a portable solution is needed.
Coolin is a life-saving portable cooler that maintains 2 vials of insulin at 4o C. Battery operated and portable, it enables all diabetics to enjoy the freedom of portability. Furthermore, the device communicates to a smartphone providing a data continuum – with regular notifications to patients about their calorific intake, hydration levels, reminders to take medication and finally – maintain a consistent and dynamic record of sugar levels for real-time medical diagnosis.
Braille is an intricately designed, universal script used by the visually impaired in which one unit comprises of six dots. It includes all the alphabets and numbers. The Braille script, in the tactile form, is their only means of communication. This way of communication was designed to make reading and writing easier for the visually impaired. The current method includes a stylus and a stencil, used to manually punch holes into the paper. Visually impaired write from right to left, flip the sheet to read it from left to right. A lot of pressure is applied while using the stylus, which is painful. The dots are temporary as it is simply raised paper and hence they flatten out once the book is shut over-time. Additionally, they write on both sides of the sheet, which requires them to understand the tactile difference between a depression and a protrusion. This gets very confusing and leads to paper tear. The punching requires the paper to be thick. Hence, a special kind of paper that is expensive is used.
BRIDGE, the proffered solution – a compact and an inexpensive writing solution that includes a Pen and an electronic scanner Pad. The pen allows them to write in Braille, with a microdot of photo-sensitive ink that is cured with ultraviolet light. These Braille dots are permanent and don’t flatten under pressure or over-time. This invention allows them to read and write in the same direction, from the standard left to right. The inbuilt scanner on the pad scans the dots, converts into multiple languages and can be printed when desired.
AALTO ROVER PROJECT
The Aalto Explorer is a remotely controlled modular rover with embedded state-of the-art technology, allowing deep water exploration in the world’s oceans. Remotely controlled from the surface, this underwater rover has multiple applications – from biodiversity and conservation studies, to oil and mineral exploration.
Design and Innovation students of ISDI Mumbai participated in a nine-month Product engineering project at Aalto university, Finland. Calling themselves FIndia, the multidisciplinary team won the team of the year award at PDP Gala for the year 2017-2018 for the design and prototyping the first Aalto Explorer Community Controlled Vehicle (CCV) that allows exploration and research into the unknown under the vast oceans of the world.