Sparks, an electronic or refreshable Braille display, which seeks to bring all digital information at the fingertips of the visually challenged and eliminate challenges of limited and expensive reading and writing material for them, is one of the business plans which competed at Eureka, IIT Bombay’s business plan competition. Organised by IIT Bombay’s Entrepreneurship Cell, the finals were conducted during the two-day “Entrepreneurship Summit”, which began on Saturday.
“The product that our venture has designed is a first-of-its-kind, low cost multi-line refreshable Braille display, which is diverse in its utility due to its connectivity to all digital devices. It has several features integrated. For example, if a photograph is taken of an image or say a newspaper with a smartphone, this image is converted into Braille and the information is transferred to our device via bluetooth. At present, electronic Braille displays are available in the US and UK that cost around Rs 1.84 lakh. We wanted to make this cost effective.
Our display costs Rs 13,000, which is one-fifteenth the cost of the existing models. Further, our’s is multi-line and five lines can be displayed at one go, so the user need not go up and down. The cost of the five-line model is Rs 50,000,” said Shyam Shah, co-founder of Sparks, which competed in social and IIT-Bombay categories.
Eureka, which received 7,100 registrations, comprises business and social tracks, besides IIT-Bombay B-plan of the year award, technology and sustainable development (TNSD) award and youth award. With total prizes worth Rs 45 lakh, the winners will be declared on Sunday.
While ‘ShanSa’ in the social track is a healthcare sector-based venture, providing technology service for toxic hazardous bio-medical waste disposal or disinfection segment of the market, Kadam or Greensole, looks at providing high utility and eco-friendly slippers.
Accordingly, instead of throwing away old shoes, users will be able to use them once the start-up refurbishes them to slippers. The innovation has been granted two design patents and the team has already manufactured a batch of slippers, conducted tests, cost-profit analysis and wants to raise Rs 50 lakh for the venture.
While nine teams competed in the business category, there were five teams each in the other tracks. While ‘MiniME’, a product by ‘3DZest’ in the business track looks at capturing memories in 3D, MedPrime Technologies aims to design, develop and deploy newer and affordable technologies in the healthcare sector, even as ‘RentPitara’ is building a community of people who believe in the idea of sharing and renting via a platform of vendors, people-to-people sharing, classified ads, trust meters, payback points and virtual stores with customisable widgets.
Weebo, a hardware start-up in the business track, is established in Mumbai and focuses on communication and tracking of children by their parents. The wearable can be used by the child as a wrist watch or attach it to the bag and the key features are calling, tracking, music player and voice recognition.
Another venture, ‘Pratilipi’ is a self-publishing platform for Indian language writers. “We launched in September 2014 and at present it’s available in Hindi, Gujarati and Tamil languages. We intend to expand to all other Indian languages. We come from small towns and consider reading very important. Many in our country, however, cannot read English. To bridge this gap, we started our venture as we found a dearth of Indian languages’ content on the internet. Any writer can publish their content. If they want to make it available for free, we don’t charge anything. If they want to sell their content, we take the revenue and give them royalty. We are building a reading platform for those who need access to content in their native language. The Eureka platform has enabled us to get feedback from various stakeholders,” said Ranjeet Pratap Singh, co-founder and CEO.
The IIT-Bombay track includes a plan where team ‘Godambi’ is developing a deshelling device called ‘Sarathi’, which will ensure safe and easy extraction of kernel of the marking nut, whereas ‘AltoCure’ is an attempt to provide an alternative external regimen or therapy to HIV infection. This medical device will function to remove virus from the blood circulation of patient reducing the viral load. Its impact is similar to the current conventional drug regimens in market. But since this therapy is completely external, that is the virus elimination process takes place outside the patient’s body, the side-effects associated with conventional drug regimens is overridden by this device.
‘BoxMySpace’ for your belongings
Besides several workshops and panel discussions, the summit also had start-ups showcasing their innovation. “When I returned from the US, I wanted to store my belongings at one place before I could settle down, and then take them back. But unlike facilities in the US, there were none in Mumbai. Accordingly, I launched ‘BoxMySpace’ in January, which is a warehouse facility located in Bhiwandi.
We collect the belongings and charge Rs 99 per box per month. At present, we have five to six customers and over 15 boxes stored. We upload the image of the box and its content to the user’s account, who can then easily manage and track them anytime,” said founder Pratyush Jain, who showcased his start-up at the expo.