The Desai Sethi School of Entrepreneurship (DSSE) was established to foster the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. More than 25 start-ups including Augle, Adapt, CareNx, Faclon, HelpNow, JanYu, Phabio, R2MI and others, initiated by IIT-B students who were inspired and empowered through DSSE courses and mentoring programmes, are now rising to meet the COVID challenges with fresh thinking and effective solutions. IIT Bombay start-ups have developed several novel technological weapons for frontline professionals and workers to effectively battle COVID-19.
Facial Recognition Plus Temperature Sensing
Two start-up companies Augle AI and Faclon Labs have devised solutions for detection, tracking and localisation in a densely populated city. The temperature sensing system developed by Augle, skims through hundreds of people moving in public places. Tejendu, head of their tech team, says, “We are integrating this with our existing facial recognition system to strengthen the safety and security in offices, government buildings, public places, malls – any place where people gather in large numbers.”
They also provide drone-based crowd analytics for quarantined areas for increasing the safety of police officials and health workers. Faclon is working closely with the BMC to install automatic plug and play screening devices that can be mounted on a wall or tripod. They capture thermal snapshots of individuals and activate alarms upon detecting those with fever.
Robotic Smart Trolley
A robotic smart trolley with racks designed by the start-up JanYu Technologies is being tested in local hospitals. Dr Om Singh of Lifecare Hospital, Vasai recommends the trolley with its WiFi connected tablet screen and in-built camera for patient interaction through live audio-visuals. Lt Gen Subrata Saha (Retd) tweeted about the smart trolley for remote care for COVID patients. These trolleys can be remotely operated, for taking food, medicine, clothing and other critical supplies between isolation wards and supply units. “Our company develops robots for hazardous workspaces. We modified these to meet the current requirements, and are delivering trolleys to hospitals in Hyderabad, Lucknow and Delhi” said Sai Hemanth, Founder, JanYu Technologies.
Personal Protection Equipment
Routetomarket Media India (R2MI), which offers sales, distribution and media management services, is manufacturing customisable personal protection equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals, law and order personnel and other frontline workers. Harsh, one of the founders of R2MI, says “We are manufacturing about 5,000 PPEs per day and have pledged to donate 50 per cent of them.”
Adapt Ideations provides cloud-based platforms for real-time monitoring of logistics and delivery. They utilised their network to manufacture face protection shields with BSL-2 compliance for use by doctors, health workers and enforcement officials. As of today, 200 face shields were donated to Thane traffic police, and 1250 were supplied to Aastha Pratishthan for Ratnagiri Police. More are in production, to meet the requests from Andhra Pradesh police, Telangana medical authorities, and Dharavi residents in Mumbai.
A PhD student Farha joined hands with Sukanya, founder of a bio plastics start-up called Phabio, to develop a community engagement project. Their Spot.Corona app provides a heat map for informed decisions on contaminant zones, by predicting the number of hidden and reported cases. It uses multiple sets of data including symptoms, detection, travel history and contact tracing to identify infection hotspots. This helps in deciding about increased tests, optimal isolation zones and localised lockdown.
Pregnancy Counselling Webinars
The pandemic poses questions for a vast range of people with various medical conditions, including expecting mothers and their families worried about routine check-up, delivery and infection of new-borns. The CareNx team developed a video series and webinars called ‘Don’t Panic, Protect’ in partnership with renowned gynaecologists, doctors and counsellors. Their app is used by frontline workers to counsel more than 10,000 pregnant women in remote areas.
15 Minute Ambulance Service
The HelpNow start-up team developed an app called MedCabs, reducing the time required to get an ambulance to under 15 minutes. They are aggregating ambulances, mobilising Uber drivers and giving them AHA-certified training as well as protective equipment. More than 350 such vehicles are currently moving on Mumbai roads, and have serviced over 9000 calls for help. The team launched a 24×7 helpline to provide sanitised ambulances with ventilators for COVID emergencies and are helping the government to sanitise public places like CST, BKC and Dharavi.
“HelpNow was started by Aditya Makkar after his father suffered a heart attack and was told to wait for 45 minutes for an ambulance. He was saved by driving to the hospital in their own car,” shared Dr Aparna Rao, who coordinates various courses offered by Desai Sethi School for Entrepreneurship at IIT Bombay. Most of these were developed within days of the nation-wide lock-down announced by the government,” adds Prof B Ravi, Head of the Desai Sethi Centre for Entrepreneurship and Founder of the BETiC innovation centre.