Device can assist those with spinal cord injuries, weakened leg muscles or polio
A Chennai-based entrepreneur has found his way into the list of top 20 innovators in the country under the age of 35.
S.T.M. Veerabahu, has built a robotic limb that will assist people who are physically challenged and those with spinal cord injuries, to walk.
The innovative work of the 33-year-old now figures in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review India TR35 list, in the computing category. Last month, Mr. Veerabahu received a certificate from the Technology Review for his work.
A postgraduate in mechanical engineering (electrical drives and embedded control) from Anna University, Mr. Veerabahu started his own firm, Cybernoid Technologies, in 2010 after working both in India and Canada.
“The robotic leg I have devised can be attached to the body. It can benefit a number people — those with polio, those whose legs have had to be amputated, those with weakened leg muscles and those with spinal cord injuries. The device is fitted to the body with four straps and enables a person to walk, climb and sit,” he said.
The project, which began in 2009, was supported by the Central government’s department of scientific industrial research, under the ‘Technopreneur Promotion Programme’. The programme allowed for a grant that was given by its outreach centre in Chennai – Technology Business Incubator Centre.
Around Rs. 15 lakh went into making of the device, Mr. Veerabahu said.
“What makes this robotic leg different from others in the market is that it is non-bio signal-based, meaning there is no skin contact. It is affordable, costing around Rs. 65,000 to Rs. 1 lakh, whereas similar products cost anywhere between Rs. 25 lakh and Rs. 60 lakh,” Mr. Veerabahu added.
He said the product could be used by persons weighing 85 kg and below and was lightweight.
Cybernoid Technologies is planning to commercialise the technology by the end of 2013. “We are open to collaborating with State and Central governments as well as private investors,” he added.