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

The Award has been instituted by Infosys Foundation

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An innovator from BETiC (Biomedical Engineering and Technology incubation Center) IIT-Bombay, Aneesh Karma recently won the Infosys Foundation – 2nd Aarohan social innovations awards in the healthcare silver category.

The awards were organised by the CSR arm of Infosys called the Infosys Foundation. Infosys foundation established the Aarohan social innovation awards in 2018 to recognise and reward individuals, teams, and NGOs for creating innovative solutions to support the underprivileged in India.

Native to Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district with a humble family background, Karma and his wife are polio patients. The UP Government had provided them low-cost drop-lock calipers, but they were uncomfortable and inefficient. Karma 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.

Karma’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.

Karma’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, he also won the BIRAC Biotechnology Ignition Grant.

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

On receiving the award, Karma said, “For any innovator, the initial years are swamped with financial issues that do not necessarily limit but definitely slowdown 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.”

Professor B Ravi, Founder, BETiC said, “Anyone can be a successful innovator — assuming they have enough fire and have access to a supportive ecosystem. 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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