Ask and you’d find that most Indians love paani puri, aka gol gappa, aka phuchka, and the many variants, depending on which part of the country you’re in. Just the thought of this mouth-watering desi snack is enough to make us happy. But often, there is just one factor that keeps many fans away from this tempting street food — lack of hygiene. Yes, the water used for the snack or fearing that there could be dirt on vendor’s hand that could contaminate the stuffing, make many wary.
But does that mean we turn away for this amazing snack? Well, solving your dilemma, a group of engineering students has come to the rescue with their unusual and special innovation – a paani puri dispenser! So, gol gappe lovers, rejoice!
Electrofoodies, a group of final-year engineering students from Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), Karnataka, built a prototype for one of India’s most sought-after street foods. Their innovation even bagged the first prize at the national finale of Ink Makers held at T-Hub, Hyderabad.
The brainchild of Sahas Gembali, Sunanda Somu, Neha Srivastava and Karishma Agrawal came up with his amazing solution when one day they visited their favourite chaat joint to find out they were short of hands. “We had ordered our dishes, but he was busy serving everyone waiting in the line for panipuri. We realised that serving paani puri is a very repetitive and mundane task and this is something that needs to be automated and, in the process, we can tackle issues such as hygiene and sell panipuri anytime and anywhere,” Gembali told Bangalore Mirror while sharing what led to this unique idea.
“We also felt that panipuri was not given enough recognition in the global market. There are so many Indians abroad and I am sure that they would want to have panipuri any day. We hence decided to develop a machine and started working on the prototype,” he said.
Wondering how it works? Well, it does everything that our paani puri wala does but keeping in mind hygiene. The device releases the puri and makes a holes for the filling. It then fills it with the stuffing and finishing it with a dip in paani! And all this at the push of one single button. Amazing, right?
But that’s not it. Whenever at a paani puri stall, there always a match — who can eat the maximum! So, keeping that in mind, they have also added a feature that would also help in such competitions. “Another feature in the prototype is the multiplayer mode were friends can challenge one another while eating paani puri. It maintains the scores on who has eaten how much. The automated vending machine needs a person only to refill the raw materials,” he explained.
After rigorously studying and observing for a period of six months, the group finalised their prototype. With an aim to spread paani puri globally, they wish to sell the desi street food outside India too. It has a control panel on the front and, since it is a vending machine, it is ideal to be placed in malls. To make it even suitable for marketing and advertising, the machine also flaunts a smart display panel for advertisements.