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Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur has bagged the GE India Innovation Award. Shanu Sharma, was recognized as the winner this year for her innovative design to create a convertible manual, stair climbing wheelchair.
GE India presented the 2nd annual GE India Innovation Award at CII’s annual event, ‘Decade of Innovation: India @Year 2’. The award by GE India is in line with its focus on localized innovations and efforts to foster and fuel a robust ecosystem for innovation in India. The award strives to honour individuals and corporate organizations across sectors who have contributed positively towards the development of the society through their designs and innovation.
Dr Gopichand Katragadda, managing director, GE India Technology Centre presented the cash prize of Rs.1,00,000 to the winner today at New Delhi.
Wheelchairs available today are not suitable or favourable to stair climbing and are a major constraint to accessibility for differently-abled people. But the wheelchair designed by Shanu Sharma, codenamed ‘Vardaan’, is designed for climbing stairs with mechanical benefit via lever ratchets system and braking system. A Y-shaped wheel has been designed and incorporated within the frame for better grip and optimum braking for climbing up and down a flight of stairs.
Presenting the award, Dr Katragadda, said that the design was simple and an effective mechanical concept to enable wheelchair users to manoeuvre over stairs. It is a common need especially in countries where wheel access is not ubiquitous. The most important step forward now is for hospitals and wheelchair manufactures to help make this concept a commercial success.
“Such examples showcase how innovation results in localized cost-effective approaches to solve problems specific to the markets they address. We, at GE, are focused on building capacity to solve India’s toughest challenges across energy, health and home, transportation and finance sectors. These in-country products have the potential to eventually disrupt developed markets as well,” he added.
Further, he highlighted the importance of emerging markets driving innovations in times of global uncertainty, the pre-requisites for an ideal innovation ecosystem in these markets and the need to promote it from a long-term growth perspective.
The innovation award was announced last year by GE as another initiative to encourage innovation in India. The company is committed to develop localized products and solutions in India which bring about a positive impact in the lives of people.