BETiC (Biomedical Engineering and Technology incubation Center) IIT-Bombay, Aneesh Karma won the Infosys foundation – 2nd Aarohan social innovations awards in the healthcare silver category. The award function took place in Bengaluru on 19th February 2020 in a compact setting.
The awards were organized by the CSR arm of Infosys called the Infosys foundation. Infosys foundation established the Aarohan Social Innovation awards in 2018 to recognize and reward individuals, teams, and NGOs for creating innovative solutions to support the underprivileged in India, at scale – as affirmed by the source (https://www.infosys.com/newsroom/press-releases/2020/aarohan-social-innovation-awards-winners-announcement.html)
Native to UP’s Bulandshahr district with a humble family background, Aneesh and his wife are both polio patients. The UP government provided low-cost drop-lock calipers, but they were uncomfortable and inefficient. Aneesh started modifying the design, filed a patent in 2015 with the help of National Research Development Corporation (NRDC). With a vision to help the 1.2 million polio cases in India, he joined BETiC-IIT-Bombay in 2018.
Aneesh’s innovation, the knee ankle-foot orthosis (KAFO) offers a solution for those affected by polio, paralysis, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disorders and accidents. His KAFO is versatile, with a 135-degree angle flexion for squatting, walking and cycling. It weighs only 1.3 kg and can provide support to an individual weighing up to 120 kg. Along with all of this, it is multiple footwear compatible and is affordably priced. Imported orthotics, with intelligent sensor systems which control the knee joint through pneumatics, linear springs, hydraulics and torsional rods are too expensive.
Aneesh’s innovation has also won awards such as NCPEDP- Mphasis Universal Design Awards 2019, The Big Idea Summit and Expo 2020, IIT Kanpur’s 2018 Techkriti Innovator award and many others. In 2019, Aneesh also won the BIRAC Biotechnology Ignition Grant.
Together with the award, Aneesh and his team were rewarded with a prize money of 10 lakh INR by the hands of the chairperson of Infosys foundation, philanthropist and renowned author Mrs. Sudha Murthy and non-executive chairman of Infosys Nandan Nikleni, reflecting token of appreciation and encouragement to create more low-cost innovative healthcare devices for the underprivileged society.
On receiving the award, Aneesh said, “For any innovator, the initial years are swamped with financial issues that do not necessarily limit but definitely slow down the pace of developing the innovations. Such monetarily assistance ease the pressure on that front and allows a smooth channel for the process of innovating a device.”
Prof. B. Ravi, Founder of BETiC says, “Anyone can be a successful innovator- assuming they have enough fire and have access to a supportive eco-system. This award is a validation of our efforts to nurture promising innovators from rural areas, and to make low cost medical innovation a reality.”
ABOUT AROHAN AWARDS
The awards were identified across four categories: Healthcare, Rural Development, Destitute Care and Sustainability. The awards comprised of a promising jury panel including Mrs. Sudha Murthy, Chairperson – Infosys Foundation, philanthropist and renowned author, Padma Shri Mr. Arvind Gupta, an Indian toy inventor and science expert, Padma Shri Prof. Anil Gupta, visiting faculty member, IIM Ahmedabad, a globally renowned scholar of grassroots innovations, and Founder of the Honeybee Network and four others. The winners were shortlisted from a pool of over 1,700 submissions and evaluated by the distinguished jury. The ten social innovators were awarded with a total prize money of INR 1.50crore for their breakthrough innovations.
The Biomedical Engineering and Technology Innovation Centre is located at IIT Bombay, with satellite centers in six engineering colleges and seven medical institutes across Maharashtra. The initiative is envisioned and supported by S&T Council of Maharashtra Government and DST, New Delhi, to accelerate indigenous development of affordable medical devices suitable for local manufacture and use. In the last five years, the BETIC team developed and filed patents for over 50 devices, and licensed 20 of them to start-up companies or industry partners.