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INNOVATION FOR THE PEOPLE
 
Products & Technologies for Rural and Urban Requirements

 
Tools and Technologies for Cane & Bamboo Crafts

Numbering over five lakhs, bamboo artisans in India face various problems relating to purchase of raw material, their processing, production of commercially viable items, and their subsequent sale. The Industrial Design Centre (IDC) has developed a number of technologies to bolster the unorganised craft sector by helping artisans produce value-added, contemporary bamboo products to compete with other materials in the urban and international marketsThey are:
• A tool-kit with nearly 100 product-specific hand tools to process bamboo
• Small hand-operated machines for bamboo-processing, suitable for remote areas with unreliable power supply
• Jigs, fixtures and moulds to aid control of sizes and give better finishes
• Variety of treatments such as smoking, alum, etc. to prevent fungal and insect attacks
• Various surface finishes using natural dyes
• New weaves and product designs for ergonomically, functionally and aesthetically improved products

CONTACT: Prof A G Rao, IDC (agrao@iitb.ac.in)
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Outreach through Micro Common Facility Centres (Micro CFC)
Outreach through Micro Common Facility Centres (Micro CFC) The IDC has promoted an integrated approach to bamboo craft, which is enabled through Micro CFCs. Seven Micro Common Facility Centres have been established in India. These serve as portals for artisans to obtain design, technology, training and marketing inputs on a sustained basis.
• Micro-CFCs established through Development Commission (Handicrafts) are at – Diezhephe (Nagaland), Nalchar (Tripura), Barapeta (Assam)
• Micro-CFCs established through KVIC with UNDP funding in collaboration with local NGOs are at – Dahod (Gujarat), Karjat & Melghat (Maharashtra), Wainad (Kerala)

CONTACT: Prof A G Rao, IDC (agrao@iitb.ac.in)
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Storytelling using traditional and digital media
A collaborative approach involving interaction between tradition and modernity can substantially enrich an artistic venture. India has a rich tradition of art and craft in many regional styles. This research project on storytelling using traditional and digital media, envisages a shared endeavour with traditional and contemporary artists leading to new creative expression. These could take the shape of books, videos, and interactive learning opportunities as well as to development of new products in the crafts sector. Crafts persons receive exposure to new themes and styles through various documented works available at the Institute, and also through interaction with students. Students in turn gain an opportunity to learn more about their traditional art forms.

CONTACT: Prof Raja Mohanty, IDC (rajam@iitb.ac.in)
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IITB / KVIC Technology Interface Unit for Enhanced Rural Industrialization
Contrary to the general perception, the village industry sector in India has the capacity to be strong and competitive. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) of the Government of India has been providing necessary support to this sector. IIT Bombay and KVIC are working together on a variety of problems of mutual interest so as to help employment generation in the rural sector. The aim is to enhance science and technology inputs to productive activities that utilize the local resources and skills of the rural people. Several projects are underway, particularly in the thrust areas of Agro- and Food Processing, Rural Engineering and Organic/Natural Products.

Select projects include:
• Development of simple pedal powered devices such as water pump, battery charging unit, potter’s wheel, paddy thresher and flour/masala grinding units
• Process description for making chemical-free cane jaggery with desired characteristics; packaging solutions for jaggery; storage, preservation and awareness workshop for jaggery makers, traders and consumers
• An improved process to prepare herbal painkiller ‘Sneha Oil’, and setting up the pilot plant for manufacturing of the oil at Yusuf Meherauli Centre, Tara Village, Maharashtra
• Biochar unit with a burner system, which can be retrofitted to the existing wood fired bakery unit with simultaneous production of charcoal
• A simple, easy to operate and cost effective solar air heater unit for maintaining honey storage space above 18°C throughout a year
It is expected that this Technology Interface Unit Collaborative Joint Project between KVIC and IIT-Bombay will facilitate close interactions between rural industry needs for
technology upgradation / development and product testing. Efforts are being made to foster interest of faculty and students to solve the rural development issues through such initiatives.

CONTACT: Dr Narendra Shah, CTARA (nshah@iitb.ac.in )
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Bio-Char Unit for Low Cost Production of Charcoal
The Biomass Research group has developed a simple to operate, non-polluting Bio-char Unit (BCU). Although developed for bamboo waste, the unit can be used for other non-powdery biomass. The uniqueness of BCU lies in using the otherwise polluting gases as a thermal energy source. The device is aimed at ensuring village energy security.

Special features
• Easy to operate—a single person can operate the unit which costs Rs. 35,000
• Uniform quality and yield of charcoal (25%)
• Eco-friendly

Applications
• Use of thermal energy from burning of gases by retrofitting to bakery units or pottery furnaces
• Production of charcoal in households and supply to manufacturing industries

Through the National Mission on Bamboo Applications (NMBA), TIFAC, several such units have been deployed at various rural locations for training and further dissemination of the technology

CONTACT: Prof A Ganesh, Energy Systems Engineering (aganesh@iitb.ac.in)
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Riding Type Power Tiller
The Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA) has developed a riding-type power tiller (10HP) suited for use by small land holders.

Special features
• A low-cost traction and haulage vehicle with easy, comfortable steering and small turning radius
• Two chain and sprocket drives for agriculture and transportation uses
• Light weight diesel engine
• Easy maintenance and repair

Applications
• Ploughing and harrowing operations
• Intercultural operation in field
• Running irrigation pump, thresher etc.
• Transportation of goods up to 1 ton

CONTACT: Prof P Vasudevan, Mechanical Engineering Dept (pvdn@iitb.ac.in), Dr N Shah, CTARA (nshah@iitb.ac.in)
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Low Cost Automation Systems
Low Cost Automation (LCA) is a technology that creates some degree of automation around the existing equipment, tools, methods and people, using mostly standard components available in the market. The possible applications are numerous and span a wide range of industries. LCA systems may be mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, electrical, electronic, or hybrids of these.

Development of such systems has been carried out through collaborative efforts between many departments—Mechanical, Electrical and Aerospace Engineering. Technology solutions that can help the indigenous small and medium scale industry to enhance productivity at minimal costs are available. These pertain to industries including: pharmaceutical, switchgear, consumer products, locks, FMCG etc. Industrial training courses in Low Cost Automation are also available.

Potential Applications of LCA
Manufacturing-related activities: Loading, feeding, clamping, machining, welding, forming, gauging, assembly and packaging
Batch process Industries: Low cost data acquisition systems for batch process monitoring, batch reactor control, batch distillation operations, planning and scheduling strategies for batch and semi-continuous processes
Agriculture: Tilling, sawing, plucking, operations in stock breeding such as, controlled mixing and distribution of feed
Food processing industries: For operations that need totally hygienic conditions

CONTACT: Prof Raja Mohanty, IDC (rajam@iitb.ac.in)
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Engineered Ecosystems for Waste Management
Organic wastes from human and animal habitations can accumulate in, and endanger the environment. Engineered ecosystems research for waste conversion has led to the development of Vermiculture Technology at IIT Bombay. This process overcomes the problems associated with conventional methods such as solid state composting, activated sludge, and extended aeration in which bio-energy gets dissipated. It engages an ecology consisting of soil, plants and soil micro and macro-organisms including geophagous earthworms. The process obtains synergy between photosynthesis and respiration, so that bio-energy of wastes is fully utilized.

Facilitated through initial support by the Department of Biotechnology, the process has major potential in city farming, animal husbandry, agriculture, wasteland development, and agro-industrial waste processing.

CONTACT: Prof H S Shankar, Chemical Engineering Dept (hss@iitb.ac.in)
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Bio-reactor for Recycling of Waste Water
Engineered ecosystems may also be used for treatment of liquid wastes. Cultured Soil Filter Technology developed for this purpose consists of impervious containment (typically 1.0 - 1.5m below ground), and incorporates soil, filtration media, soil organisms like earthworms, and plants.

Special features
• A cost-effective ‘green’ technology, suitable for all solid and liquid organic waste
• Very low energy consumption
• Bio-mineral fertilizers and soil as by-products
• No sludge production, unlike conventional units
• Self-sustaining revenue model

Applications
• Treatment of water for irrigation, construction, and soil application
• Industrial effluent treatment
• Processing solid wastes
• Non-chemical purification of swimming pools and drinking water
The technology has been adopted by several user-organisations

CONTACT: Prof H S Shankar, Chemical Engineering Dept (hss@iitb.ac.in)
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K-YAN: The Compact Media Centre
IDC has developed K-YAN, a compact media product for community use. The product combines the functions of: a multimedia and internet enabled PC, large format television, DVD/VCD/CD player, CD writer, video-conference device, LCD data projector, and an audio system to facilitate shared viewing and participation by users.

Special features
• Easy to use, has multilingual facilities, and eliminates the need for investing in other media hardware. One unit can cater to the computer-based teaching needs of an entire class, and substantially reduce the cost of computerizing schools.
• Useful in other group learning or information dissemination programmes such as: healthcare, family planning, agricultural practices, and civic awareness programmes
• Equipped with extra solar energy-based portable power supply to enable its use in areas with no electricity. Mounted on a van, it can function as a mobile communication centre from remote locations.
K-YAN has gained popularity amongst senior state and central government officials
.

CONTACT:Prof K Trivedi, IDC (kirti@iitb.ac.in)
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Mathematics Resource Centre
The Mathematics Resource Centre has been created as part of an MHRD project. The aim of the project is to develop interactive modules in college / university level Mathematics and make them available to all students through the Web. The material developed so far is available at.www.mathresource.iitb.ac.in.

CONTACT: Prof Inder K Rana, Mathematics Dept (ikrana@iitb.ac)
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Keylekh: A Keyboard for Text Input in Indian Languages
An Indian language keyboard is unique, bearing no similarity with the English keyboard. This is primarily due to the complex structure of the Indic scripts, and the existence of a large number of characters in each script. Although solutions have been forthcoming, none have emerged as a possible de-facto industry standard.

Media Lab Asia at IIT Bombay has designed a keyboard based on the structure of the Indic alphabet. The keyboard is the result of intensive research and iteration of design, prototyping and user evaluation. Evaluation was done using more than one method, including: usability tests, informal demonstrations, road shows, and a typing competition. The research project was carried out under the aegis of Prof Anirudha Joshi of the IDC

The features that make this keyboard unique are:
• Text input is based on the Devanagari script
• Keylekh does not make use of the Shift key to switch between consonants and matras (vowel sounds).
• All the alphabets and matras have been accommodated in 5 rows of the keyboard as compared to the 4 rows in the QWERTY key-board
• An efficient plug and play keyboard that requires just a Unicode based operating system

CONTACT:Prof Anirudha Joshi, IDC (anirudha@iitb.ac.in), Media Lab Asia (mlasia@it.iitb.ac.in) www.mlasia.iitb.ac.in
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Socioeconomic Impact of Subsidised Computer Education
In developing countries, the economically underprivileged often lack the financial resources to make the investments in education that could fetch future economic benefits. In a consultancy project done for Sterlite Foundation (a charitable wing of Sterlite Industries) which runs 205 subsidised computer training centres in the country, IIT Bombay carried out a study to evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of these centres in imparting computer education among the needy sections of society. The study showed that the majority of the beneficiaries were in the income group of below Rs. 60,000 per annum, especially those below Rs. 30,000 per annum.

Spurred by these observations, the Humanities and Social Sciences Department took an initiative jointly with NSS Sanganak Vidya Centre, IIT Bombay to extend the benefits of subsidised computer education to underprivileged sections among its own work force. Courses are being conducted in Computer Fundamentals, Applications, and Programming, for employees and their families with the help of student volunteers. The response, especially from the family members of the staff has been encouraging. This initiative of "Empowering the under-privileged through computer literacy" is unique to IIT Bombay

CONTACT: Prof K Narayanan, Humanities and Social Sciences Dept ( knn@iitb.ac.in)
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Assessment of Technological Support to Community and Rural Industries
As a part of the larger IIT Bombay / KVIC project by the Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA), a comprehensive survey was conducted at the Yusuf-Meherauli Centre near Mumbai, among the various cottage and small scale industries, and self-help groups. The aim of the study was to determine the needs of the rural people, and assess the type and extent of technology support that can be provided by IIT Bombay to empower them. The findings were communicated to CTARA which has been developing several technologies to suit local needs. The efforts are directed at empowering people, especially women, in self-employment to build social capital, improve community practice, and inform policy.

CONTACT: Prof K Narayanan, Humanities and Social Sciences Dept (knn@iitb.ac.in)
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Mumbai Navigator
Mumbai Navigator is a programme which helps plan travel within the city of Mumbai using public buses and local trains.
• The programme takes as input, the starting point of the journey and the desired destination, and generates a plan describing which buses/trains to take, where to change.
• The expected travel time including the time spent in waiting for buses/trains to arrive is also provided.
• The generated plans are adaptive, i.e. they may prescribe a different set of actions depending upon which bus arrives first while waiting at the stop.
• Plans generated by the program require the minimum total travel time on the average.

Mumbai Navigator is available to users over the internet at www.cse.iitb.ac.in/navigator. A survey shows that the program is being used by residents of Mumbai as well as visitors.

CONTACT: Prof A Ranade, Computer Science and Engineering Dept (ranade@iitb.ac.in)
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ASAN: The low cost ATM
Based on a survey of current and potential users, ASAN, a low cost Automated Teller Machine has been designed at IDC. It has several advantageous features over the currently deployed ATMs, that suit Indian customer and settings.
• Special features
• Ergonomically designed key-pad height and screen inclination
• Design provides sufficient privacy during transaction and has provision to keep personal belongings
• A multi-coloured card reader status indicator guides users unfamiliar with new technology like smart DIP card readers
• The machine has NCR intelligent power-saving hardware and software
• An integrated pedestal accommodates a UPS, providing maximum availability during outages
• The robust engineering design ensures trouble-free operation in hot, humid and dusty environments. Additionally, a unique airflow system allows deployment at non-air conditioned sites
The design has been very successful and has been transferred to NCR Corporation, Mumbai.

Award: The project received the National Award Certificate of Merit under CDC National Awards for Excellence in Consultancy Services-2004, constituted by Consultancy Development Centre, and supported by DSIR Ministry of Science and Technology

CONTACT: Prof V P Bapat, IDC (bapat@iitb.ac.in); Prof U A Athavankar,IDC (uaa@iitb.ac)