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Jaipur Foot and the following-gen assistive technological innovation

Jaipur is identified all-around the globe for its palaces, forts, fiery delicacies and the renowned Jaipur Literature Pageant. But in addition to its cultural prominence, the city is also where the Jaipur Foot, or Jaipur Leg, a rubber-dependent prosthetic for down below-the-knee amputees was 1st produced in 1968. The Jaipur Foot is set to see a complete technological enhance less than the stewardship of Dr Pooja Mukul, Director Jaipur Foot Rehabilitation Heart and Prosus.

Prosus, the shopper world-wide-web division of Naspers, the world engineering team, has introduced a research for the future Jaipur Foot in a bid to leverage technology to support individuals with disabilities (PwD). Dr Mukul, who is a renowned orthopedic surgeon and medical entrepreneur, was approached for her know-how all through the Prosus Social Effects Challenge for Accessibility (SICA), a national competitors to explore the most impressive startups in assistive technological innovation, released on August 26. The winners will obtain funds and mentoring to acquire their suggestions to the sector to make improvements to the lives of PwDs

In India, disability is about “patronage not empowerment,” suggests Dr Mukul, who has led the investigation division at the Jaipur Foot Firm for in excess of 3 a long time . As component of the social sector, the development of assistive know-how goods in India is mostly pushed by lower price, not superior functionality. She suggests this was “an completely misplaced precedence,” and hopes Prosus SICA will accurate the past.



Prosus is committing Rs 1,65,00,000 in prize money above a few yrs to the best 3 startups, each individual year. Registrations for Prosus SICA will be acknowledged till October 12, when the elimination section commences, culminating in the last on November 26. Applicants need to be from organisations that are significantly less than a decade old, and registered with the Division for Promotion of Sector and Inner Trade (DPIIT) at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Specifics on how to implement can be located on the Startup India Hub.

The contest is the brainchild of Prosus and its partners, Devote India – the government inward financial investment agency – and Social Alpha, which with support from Tata Trusts, has designed up experience in supporting PwDs.

What is Dr Mukul’s guidance for the contestants?

“First, match the engineering to the folks, not the other way about. Do your investigate on assistive technology in India and expend time comprehending the demands of the people, and design for them. Next, prioritise good quality. ‘Make in India’ but innovate for the earth.”

She applauds the new technology of startup innovators, but warns them that India’s historic altruism is a formidable competitor. In India, prosthetics are totally free, so the startups “will be competing from free”. That is a barrier to entry that can only be defeated by “high efficiency, not low cost”, Dr Mukul claims.

She hopes the Prosus SICA contest produces innovations in her areas of specialisation – locomotor disability – specifically for the higher limbs exactly where there is a in close proximity to absence of assistive know-how. There is also a market for wheelchairs in India, which are mostly imported, affordable and healthy only for the household, not India’s roadways.

Manoj Kumar, chairman and founder, Social Alpha, which has supported 15 startups due to the fact its launch in 2018, states: “In India, there is a large shortage of superior-excellent and economical assistive technological know-how. We have to have to persuade industrial expenditure in improvements that can cater to PWDs.”

Kumar, echoing Dr Mukul, welcomes the collaboration with Commit India, Startup India and Prosus and hopes that the contest will generate “exciting chances for business people.”

It is a sentiment that remembers the revolutionary perform of Dr P K Sethi, whose leadership designed the Jaipur Foot. Dr Mukul is a proud protégé of Dr Sethi. A mentorship is also available to the winners in the Prosus-SICA contest.

Their first approach was to replicate western merchandise and gain from reduced output fees. But western products and solutions only “disabled” our people, she recollects. The Jaipur Foot was created for Indian problems. The typical Indian amputee is wholesome and young in the west, an amputee is normally aged 60, and is near retirement. In the west, amputees stroll on stage surfaces, sit on chairs, dwell in a cold climate and use footwear in India, amputees are generally from the rural hinterland, sit on the ground, are living in a warm weather and could or may not have on sneakers. They are also religious, and the temple or mosque mandates them to enter barefoot. “These are significant nuances. The exact remedy are unable to get the job done for two this kind of numerous groups.”

These days, Dr Mukul moves beyond Jaipur. She collaborates with MIT and Stanford University. A polycentric knee created with Stanford was hailed as a breakthrough. The knee fees $20 pounds to make, resembles the true point, and does not “click” with every bend. “The US engineers claimed the sound was ‘healthy acoustic feedback’ which is nonsense,” mentioned Dr Mukul and her Indian end users, and they prevailed.

The software procedure for Prosus SICA has begun on the Startup India Hub.


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