Bengaluru, Jan 23 (IANS) All-terrain slip-proof crutches, electric wheelchair designed for Indian terrain, gaming tool for screening autism and a $1 speaking device were the innovations from 14 start-ups who were declared winners of ‘BIRAC-Social Alpha Quest for Assistive Technologies- Supported by Mphasis’, it was announced on Thursday.
In a unique Public-Private Partnership model, non-proft BIRAC, Tata Trusts-funded start-up incubator Social Alpha and IT services company Mphasis came together to scale and support assistive tech start-ups that are helping Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in India.
The winners were awarded Rs 50 lakh each for completion of the clinical trial, improvements in design-for-manufacturability and fulfilment of work orders.
They were also enrolled in the Social Alpha Accelerator for Inclusive Solutions, a three-month programme where they will be given the chance to work with selected implementation agencies within the Social Alpha, BIRAC and Tata Trusts network.
“We are happy to see many innovators have recognized the need to address the challenges faced by PwDs in India. These winning start-ups are pioneers in this space,” Manoj Kumar, CEO and Co-Founder, Social Alpha, said in a statement.
The winners were chosen from over 100 applicants based on their business model, technological innovation, product-market fit, focus on affordability and accessibility and socio-economic impact.
Winners include Trestle Labs Pvt Ltd with a product called Kibo that empowers the visually-impaired towards inclusive education and employment by enabling real-time access to content through audio in several Indian and overseas languages.
Kidaura Innovations Pvt Ltd has prepared a gaming tool that allows for easy and early screening of autism in the golden years (three-six years).
A product called ‘Annie’ from Thinkerbell Labs Pvt Ltd aims at improving braille literacy in India by imparting braille reading, writing and typing skills.
Demosthenes Technologies Pvt Ltd has developed ‘Stamurai’ that provides accelerated therapy for stammering and other speech-related issues, through speech exercises and practice tools.
“Through this initiative, we aim to further the cause of disability inclusion in India and make it mainstream,” said Srikanth Karra, Chief Human Resource Officer, Mphasis.
For the accelerator programme, Social Alpha has partnered with several leading organisations including Enable India, Artilab, Jaipur Foot, Saksham Trust, APD, Xavier’s Resource Center for the Visually Challenged, National Institute of Speech and Hearing, and AssisTech at IIT-Delhi.