Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Made in India: An Exosuit for Differently Abled

MeitY’s Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge yields several innovations
December 8, 2021
Exosuit IIT
Astrek Innovations' Unik XO, a futuristic powered wearable robotic suit, also called a powered exoskeleton, has applications in both rehabilitation therapies and assisted living.

Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY’s) felicitated the winners of the Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge – Innovate Solutions for #AatmaNirbhar Bharat recently. The winners include Astrek Innovations, which demonstrated a lower limb exosuit for differently-abled using VEGA Processors (a portfolio of indigenous processors developed by C-DAC), CytoX, which used SHAKTI processor (developed by IIT Madras) to demonstrate a home solution for blood cell counting, 6E Resources for demonstrating remote monitoring and optimisation of sewage treatment plant using VEGA processor, and JayHawks for Anti-Theft Geofencing based locking system (ATGLS) using SHAKTI processor.

On August 18, 2020, MeitY launched the Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge as part of its series of proactive, pre-emptive and graded measures taken to spur the technology-led innovation ecosystem in the country and staying at the forefront of digital adoption. Open to students at all levels and start-ups, the challenge demanded contestants to tinker with the Swadeshi Processor IPs (VEGA processor by C-DAC and SHAKTI processor by IIT Madras) and facilitate them with innovating the frugal solutions for societal needs. Financial support to the tune of Rs. 4.40 crore was provided at various stages of the challenge for developing the hardware prototype and incubating a start-up to participating teams.

About 6,170 teams (with over 10,000 members), including over 500 start-ups, contested the challenge by submitting online quizzes, abstracts and detailed proposals. A hundred semi-finalists were given the VEGA and SHAKTI processor IPs and financial and technical support to develop hardware proof of concept applications around them. Thirty teams with the most technically and financially viable solutions were further given financial and technical assistance to improvise further on their hardware prototype and demonstrate to the jury during Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrated by MeitY from November 29 to December 3, 2021. Out of the 30 teams, the 10 most innovative teams won the challenge with their strategic solutions to various problems.