BETiC- IIT B innovator Aneesh Karma wins Aarohan social innovations awards for 2019

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Mumbai: An innovator from BETiC (Biomedical Engineering and Technology incubation Center) IIT-Bombay, Aneesh Karma won the Infosys foundation – 2nd Aarohan social innovations awards in the healthcare silver category. The award function took place in Bengaluru on 19th February 2020 in a compact setting.

The awards were organized by the CSR arm of Infosys called the Infosys foundation. Infosys foundation established the Aarohan Social Innovation awards in 2018 to recognize and reward individuals, teams, and NGOs for creating innovative solutions to support the underprivileged in India, at scale – as affirmed by the source(https://www.infosys.com/newsroom/press-releases/2020/aarohan-social-innovation-awards-winners-announcement.html)

Native to UP’s Bulandshahr district with a humble family background, Aneesh and his wife are both polio patients. The UP government provided low-cost drop-lock calipers, but they were uncomfortable and inefficient. Aneesh started modifying the design, filed a patent in 2015 with the help of National Research Development Corporation (NRDC). With a vision to help the 1.2 million polio cases in India, he joined BETiC-IIT-Bombay in 2018.

Aneesh’s innovation, the knee ankle-foot orthosis (KAFO) offers a solution for those affected by polio, paralysis, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disorders and accidents. His KAFO is versatile, with a 135-degree angle flexion for squatting, walking and cycling. It weighs only 1.3 kg and can provide support to an individual weighing up to 120 kg. Along with all of this, it is multiple footwear compatible and is affordably priced. Imported orthotics, with intelligent sensor systems which control the knee joint through pneumatics, linear springs, hydraulics and torsional rods are too expensive.

Aneesh’s innovation has also won awards such as NCPEDP- Mphasis Universal Design Awards 2019, The Big Idea Summit and Expo 2020, IIT Kanpur’s 2018 Techkriti Innovator award and many others. In 2019, Aneesh also won the BIRAC Biotechnology Ignition Grant.

Together with the award, Aneesh and his team were rewarded with a prize money of 10 lakh INR by the hands of the chairperson of Infosys foundation, philanthropist and renowned author Mrs. Sudha Murthy and non-executive chairman of Infosys Nandan Nikleni, reflecting token of appreciation and encouragement to create more low-cost innovative healthcare devices for the underprivileged society.

On receiving the award, Aneesh said, “For any innovator, the initial years are swamped with financial issues that do not necessarily limit but definitely slow down the pace of developing the innovations. Such monetarily assistance ease the pressure on that front and allows a smooth channel for the process of innovating a device.”

Prof. B. Ravi, Founder of BETiC says, “Anyone can be a successful innovator- assuming they have enough fire, and have access to a supportive eco-system. This award is a validation of our efforts to nurture promising innovators from rural areas, and to make low cost medical innovation a reality.”

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