E Week Yatra Stories
A Hotbed for Innovations
Institute of Engineering and Management, Kolkata
February 8, 3.45 pm
The first thing IRM’s NEN E leader Shouvik Bhattacharya did after I entered his campus was take my cell number. “I have a surprise waiting for you,” he told me. Later he made me stand outside a dark room and asked me to send a code to a phone number through my cell phone. I did. The room lit up in a second.
This is Shouvik’s innovation: A home-appliance management system that is controlled through SMS. The system can manage up to 16 appliances. What is more amazing is that the cost of setting up the system is Rs 100. More applications follow. His friends have used a web camera to set up a security system which can detect motion and send alerts to owners about suspected intrusions. Another is working on building a remote system that can control lights in other rooms, too.
In yet another case, a solar panel and a pump have been configured together to create a low-cost device to aerate water to support fish for fish culture. The livelihood of over 4 lakh people in the Sunderbans depends on fish culture, and this device will help them culture fish without depending on generators that cost them Rs. 2000 a day for each. This device, which works completely on solar energy, will bring the cost down to a one-time installation charge of Rs.30,000.
Som Acharya, entrepreneur and NEN speaker was thrilled with the innovations. He has even agreed to fund a project that produces glowing sticks to aid blind people. “The crux is commercialization. How do you convert these models into ready-to-use products? Engineering students should look at their projects from the market’s point of view and use technology as a way to meet the market needs. The NEN community has a big role to play in building this mindset,” he says.