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A better,smarter look to tools man has used for ages

A shovel that can dig,a pickaxe that can collect soil and a tool to carry a load on the waist rather than the head— all these are design innovations that could have an impact on the lives of millions of labourers in the long run.

Written by Arun Jayan | Pune |
March 5, 2009 12:05:25 am

A shovel that can dig,a pickaxe that can collect soil and a tool to carry a load on the waist rather than the head— all these are design innovations that could have an impact on the lives of millions of labourers in the long run.

A team of faculty and students of Pune-based Maeer’s MIT Institute of Design has come up with design transformation for three tools that have been in use for ages without any change. Part of the National Knowledge Commission,the project has come up with at least a dozen variants of these basic tools.

The prototypes are currently undergoing tests at Kamnighat in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan. A recommendation for larger use of the designs has been passed on to the National Knowledge Commission.

“It was really a challenge for us to develop such products. One of the shovels that we’ve come up with will help in better collection of soil,” said Prof Arvind Merchant,head of the department,product design,MIT Institute of Design.

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Another tool allows labourers to dig and pick at the same time,making them easier to handle on soft soil and granular material. “The gentle curve enables better collection. It is also easy to manufacture. Each of the products has been tested with users and after that,based on their feedback,fine-tuned for popular use,” said Prof Dhimant Panchal,faculty member and part of the team that’s been working on the project since September 2008.

The head-loader comes in a lightweight variant designed especially for women labourers.

There are eight combination tools; one of them is the combined form of shovel and head loader inspired by the scoop for grains. The tool allows the load to be carried on the waist rather than the head.

“Another one in the series is a combination of shovel and pick-axe. It is a different approach altogether and the use of strong material for the edge gives better digging action,” said Prof Sanjay Jain,faculty.

The team is in talks with manufacturers. The team has 10 students and six faculty members,the three other being Amit Deshmukh,Sumer Singh,Vasudha Karhadkar.

Ideas To Implement

Some of the tools modified by the team of the city-based MIT Institute of Design

A shovel that is folded,with a longer

wooden handle,to help collect soil better

A combined form of shovel and head loader,inspired from the scoop for grains. The tool enables the load to be carried on the waist rather than the head

A lightweight variant of head lodaer,designed especially for women labourers

A combination of shovel and pickaxe,designed so that digging is divided into two stages. This reduces human effort and the tool is best suited for forging

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