Tech tactics: Innovation in the fast lane to fight COVID-19 outbreak

IIT Roorkee incubated startups are developing innovative devices to tackle the COVID-19 crisis

(Above & bottom left) Prana Vayu ventilator, (top left) Raven Eye’s surveillance app
(Above & bottom left) Prana Vayu ventilator, (top left) Raven Eye’s surveillance app

In the developed West, academia-industry collaboration is significantly more profound compared to India when it comes to the transfer of meaningful technology from the labs to the market. Nevertheless, extraordinary times call for extraordinary efforts and startups incubated at IIT Roorkee are taking the fight against COVID-19 to the next level by developing technologies and medical devices on a war footing. Incubated at TIDES Business Incubator, a broad spectrum of products covering diagnosis, treatment and safety in a pandemic situation, will be available in the market soon, says Azam Ali Khan, CEO, TIDES, IIT Roorkee.

Log9 Materials, a Sequoia and Exfinity funded startup, has come up with an innovative, first-of-its-kind product named CoronaOven that makes use of UV-C light in combination with significant design parameters in order to effectively sanitise the surfaces of various products/objects of regular use in healthcare and household settings, thus preventing surface-to-human transmission of COVID-19. Graduated from TIDES, Log9 Materials developed this technology within two weeks, beating the lockdown challenges, and it is now ready for mass deployment.

Raven Eye, a startup founded by Kamal Jain of IIT Roorkee, has developed a surveillance system based on a unique tracking mobile application. Using geo-fencing technology, the system generates alert if any individual violates quarantine. In case the network is not available, the application will send alerts through SMS.

Realising the immense need for sanitisers to fight COVID-19 spread and the impending shortage, Heal Agnostics has developed a herbal sanitiser in the lab itself and distributed more than 2,500 litres of it, free of cost within IIT Roorkee campus. The startup is mainly developing technology for fast detection of various type of cancers, but living upto to the true spirit of an entrepreneur, it rose to the occasion to meet a timely need.

With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the biggest challenge is to ensure a sufficient number of ventilators. Akshay Dwivedi and Arup Das, from the department of mechanical engineering at IIT-Roorkee, with online support from Debendra Tripathi of AIIMS Rishikesh have developed a low cost, portable closed-loop ventilator, which is useful especially when hospital wards and open areas are converted into ICUs. Aptly named, ‘Prana Vayu’, the ventilator has feedback that can control tidal volume and breaths per minute.

Shellios, a smart helmets startup, founded by IIT-Roorkee alumnus Amit Pathak, is developing a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) which can be used by health workers/doctors to counter infection in the hospital premises. It is also separately working on another low-cost respiratory aid model. Vyaan, a cleantech startup, led by a group of IIT-Roorkee alumni, is developing an extremely low-cost reusable mask which can be manufactured in huge numbers easily. Both Shellios and Vyaan are incubated and seed funded by TIDES.

Test Right Solution, founded by alumnus Shubham Rathore, is developing a real-time PCR and virus detection kit. This is expected to be marketed at one-fourth of the cost of similar products and would increase the number of tests conducted, by enhancing existing hospital and lab facilities in India.

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