IIT-Delhi shows cheap can be wonderful -Manash Pratim Gohain

-The Times of India


NEW DELHI: Be it the urinal which saves 1,51,000 litres of water every year and draws out of the excrement phosphorus - a mineral which India imports - or the Rs 120 cholesterol test which otherwise costs Rs 5,800, or even the low-cost cellphone-size hemoglobin meter that must surely be a boon to a country in which an overwhelming proportion of maternal deaths result from malnutrition-triggered anemia, for every social problem, IIT-Delhi seems to have a technical solution.

Such was the impression of TOI when it looked at the five high social impact products patented and already in use, and part of the Open House show next week. Known as one of the biggest tech shows at the institutional level, it will showcase about 200 innovative projects put together by its faculty and students this year.

The Open House will be organized on April 19, said member of faculty of electrical engineering in IIT Delhi Turbo Majumder. "Of these, there will be five high social impact projects, all of them already working and some patented. A few of them are also in production, like the 'Waterless Urinals Technology-Zerodor' which is an IIT startup. It's being used in the campus successfully," he said.

Scarcity, misuse, pollution of water and lack of sanitation facilities have been the driving force behind development of Zerodor, patented by IIT-Delhi. Speaking about the product, associate professor of rural development and technology, Vijayaraghavan M Chariar, said, "We were concerned about misuse of water, scarcity and absence of sanitation in cities like Delhi. This device came out of collaborative effort with Unicef to improve sanitation."

"The general perception of people is to flush urine with water. But that is not required. When it comes in contact with water, urine releases ammonia which gives out odour. With this system, we do away with flushing and take care of the odour. Nutrients from the urine can be extracted and used for farming. Urine contains phosphorus which can be used for different applications. There is scarcity of phosphorus in the world and we import it from different countries. This can be resolved using the kit," said Uttam Banerjee, CEO of Ekam Solutions which is now marketing the device.

The hemoglobin meter measures the amount of hemoglobin in the blood of a person. Okayed by AIIMS, the device was developed with funding from the technology development board of department of science and technology at IIT's Centre for Biomedical Engineering.

"The big social impact of this device stems from its portability, low cost and ease of use. More than 70% of people in India, especially women, are anemic. This device will be very useful for health workers, blood banks, primary health centres, and the school health scheme of the government," said Ambar Srivastava, developer of this device and a student.


The Times of India, 11 April, 2014, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/IIT-Delhi-shows-cheap-can-be-wonderful/articleshow/33624265.cms

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