Piyush Chanana, who recently completed his PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, has been awarded the Neilom Prize for 2019. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and is given annually to the best outgoing student of IIT-Delhi, for their contribution in the space of assistive technology to empower people with disabilities.
Chanana has been a part of the Assistech Lab at IIT-Delhi for more than eight years. He worked extensively towards independent mobility solutions for people with visual impairment. He has contributed towards the development of Smartcane, an electronic travel aid for people with blindness and visual impairment. His efforts led to large dissemination of Smartcane among users in India and abroad, the IIT informed.
Prof M. Balakrishnan who is one of the founders of the Assistech Lab said that Smartcane is a flagship innovation from the lab, which is licensed to Phoenix Medical Systems, Chennai. The product has now reached over 70,000 users and royalty earned from the product has helped in addressing new unmet needs in the space of assistive technology.
“The goal of this prize instituted by Neilom Foundation, Maryland, USA is to inspire and empower recipients, who are Neilom Fellows, to become the leaders of tomorrow and create impactful solutions to reach humanity,” the IIT said.
The Neilom Foundation was established by Prof. Davinder K. Anand in honour of his son Dilip “Neil” Anand. The Foundation’s vision is to support activities to improve the lives of young people working at the intersection of education and technology.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Anand, the founder of Neilom Foundation commented, “We are very pleased to support the transformative work of the Assistech laboratory at IIT-Delhi, and proud of the Neilom Fellows that they select. The technologies they have developed light a beacon of hope for the visually impaired and represent a significant step forward in helping them live a joyful life.”
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