India is a country at its creative best. HT enumerates the 60 most interesting innovations that work...
Assembled in the sugarcane fields of UP and Punjab, this bare bones transport is put together using a pump, a wooden plank and old tyres. It has a 20-seater bullock cart trailer attached to its rear. A steering is jacked into the shaft and the 12-horsepower pump engine is hand cranked to give speeds crossing 20km/hour.
It’s an aluminium tawa with a ribbed base and concentric circles that keep surface hot for long.
Assembled locally in just Rs 10,000, these rehras are equally popular in both villages and cities. If in rural areas a motor pump used for drawing well water is used as an engine, then in cities an old Bajaj scooter engine gives it the necessary power to overtake you.
Lassi-maker washing machine
Houses in rural Punjab often use their top loading washing machines to churn curd and make lassi. In Ludhiana, an innovative lassiwala commercially sells his ‘lassi-maker’ washing machines at a fraction of the price of regular washing machines.
It’s an innovative health care chair that serves the dual purpose of seating as well as exercising.
Inspired by the harmonium, it consists of a small wooden instrument that works on a system of bellows that expands on pumping air and stores the extra air releasing it slowly to give a steady tone. Its modern avtar is a compact battery-powered electronic device that consists of an integrated loudspeaker and the necessary electronics to produce the drone.
Indian Army soldiers serving in the hot dry Rajasthan weather use cloth, buttons, velcro and innovative stitching to make their collars thick and fray proof.
A barber from UP, Mohammed Idris, uses a bicycle-powered horse-shaver in which the power of the bicycle rotary drive is converted via speed cable to the cutting blade, which cuts the hair.
This low cost tea-making machine works on electricity and facilitates the Indian method of making tea by separately pumping in water, adding tea-leaves and sugar, heating, adding milk, boiling and filtering and dispensing automatically into cups.
These matchsticks are in the form of thick threads secured together by natural binders such as sabudana. These matchsticks burn longer, are not easily breakable and they are cheap.
Multi-blade, Double-Layer Bamboo Fan
Used for separating rice from husk, this fan has two sets of larger and smaller blades located circumferentially in the same axial shaft offering a higher value of airflow rate per unit sweep area at comparatively lower speeds and less noise.
It can peel large quantities of garlic without damaging the garlic.
It is a conventional bicycle fitted with four rectangular air floats that support the bicycle in water. The inventor is from Bihar and this device got him profiled on the Discovery Channel.
Gear cycle rickshaw
A double-chain and double-sprocket mechanism has been fitted to a rickshaw and the existing free wheel has been modified by fitting a pawl lifter instead of a spring to produce this helpful system. Done by a Maharashtrian.
Zero-head water turbine
It generates electricity from flowing river water and simultaneously pumps the water for irrigation or other like purposes. Cheaper than its commercially produced rivals in Assam.
The jeep seed broadcaster
Premjibhai Patel of Rajkot has developed a mechanical blower that could be mounted on a jeep and helps in spraying seeds up 15m.
Milk Master, the manual milking machine
This milking machine consists of a set of reciprocating vacuum pumps with a vacuum gauge, a suction assembly unit and an air bubble-free gasketed milk canister to collect milk. Done by a man from Karnataka.
Septic Tank Baffle System
It uses PVC pipes and bonding cement instead of concrete baffles. It’s cheaper than the commonly used systems. Created by Rajesh TR of Kerala.
Yagnesh Mehta of Gujarat used extruded Acrylic Butadine Styrene to make cheap fins for air blowers. They are light and don’t make too much noise.
Bicycle based mobile spray pump
The handle bar holds the pesticide pack and as one pedals forward the motion is used to drive a pump, which powers the spray nozzles through a chain and sprocket arrangement.
Indigenous buttonhole machine
It requires only the simple manual adjustment of one element to determine buttonhole length. It can on an average do 100-120 buttonholes an hour, and has a small lamp near the needle, which helps in inserting the thread.
Remote fire-cracker bursting device
Balram Singh Saini uses an improvised TV remote to set off 10 firecrackers simultaneously.
It is equipped with an umbrella, tail-lamp indicators, mileage counter, rear-view mirror and powerful headlights.
Auto-engine stopping device
In order to save fuel at red lights, Tukaram Verma, a mechanic in Chhattisgarh, developed a device that automatically cuts off the engine, within 25-30 seconds in the neutral mode. Neat.
If a banana tree is diseased, this device can be used to inject pesticide into the stem. This prevents indiscriminate pesticide spraying.
Lack of irrigation water lead Anna Saheb, a 70-year-old farmer, to develop a mega sprinkler out of drip irrigation that works like artificial rain, spraying up to 500 litres per minute.
Experimenting with rubber components and metal sheets, Dr PK Sethi and Ram Chandra Sharma produced this low-cost, durable, prosthetic foot that has given new life to amputees world over.
Miticool: the village fridge
This down-to-earth fridge is made from special clay and has three or more chambers for cooling water and storing fruits and vegetables.
Stuck in seasonal floods, mechanic PSVinod came up with the unique idea of converting his old car into a boat-like float structure fixed above the tyres that could drive through flood water.
Dodhi Pathak of Assam has made false teeth from bamboo, which can bite into chicken and are amazingly cheap at Rs 20 a tooth.
Car for the disabled
A car-fanatic, Mujib Khan modified the brake, clutch and gear arrangement of his car so that he or any other person with disabled legs can drive it.
Companion, the auto air-kick pump
A few kick, and the tyre inflates. No extra effort needed. Inspired by a common bicycle tyre pumps.
Imagine cracking those tough coffee nuts by simply turning a rod. The rotating action of the rods in Sudhakar’s machine does exactly that separate the pulp from the berries.
Dr Madan Kataria gave the world ‘laughing clubs’ in 1995. Since then, 100 such clubs have mushroomed across India, where members meet in groups, do certain exercises and laugh their heads off.
Khimjibhai Kanadia, a retired schoolteacher has created an innovative device that has two extended supporting rods from a
circular disk that is put on the head to hold the vessel.
Super auto gas stove
Balubhai Vasoya, from Ahmedabad, has developed a stove that uses both kerosene and electricity. A 6V electric coil heats the kerosene, converts it into gas, saving 70 per cent on fuel. One litre of kerosene lasts for eight hours; and in 20 hours, the stove uses one unit of electrical power.
Deepasakti Pooja Oil
This unique blend of five different oils in a ratio prescribed in the Indian shastras does not produce any soot but gives a bright flame.
Badminton stroke-practicing machine
Amlan Bhattacharya and Subash Das have made a machine that drops shuttle corks at regular intervals and also spins them using a conveyor belt.
The earlier tedious handpicking methods have been replaced by his rudimentary machine that has dust collectors and an automatic feeding system to help it process 400 kg cotton per hour.
This innovative plough can be used for multiple farming operations like furrow opening, sowing, inter-culturing and spraying operations.
It’s a drill machine with a small gear box to make churning fast and less stressful, for curd etc..
These modified lanterns can run on kerosene, diesel or ethanol, have a wick, coated with high temperature materials like silica, a self-cleaning nozzle and a special glass that reduces the chances of explosion and to produce light equal to a 100-watt bulb.
Kamdhenu Bullock Drawn Tractor (KBDT)
The Bharatiya Cattle Resource Development Foundation has developed this intermediate technology between tractors and traditional plough, come with umbrella and self-cooling water bottles.
It is made of a matador van and a discarded engine. This small compact wonder on wheels gives a mileage of 4 km per litre of diesel.
Built around a bicycle wheel rim, this is perhaps the most common way of sharpening knives across India.
This is a phirkee fitted with an in-built motor making the string winding and unwinding operations motorised to save the kite flyer significant time and effort.
This machine simplifies the task of separating pepper from peppercorns. Pepper bunches are put into a funnel-like structure, that then go through a series of rotating blades that are fitted inside.
Pepsee drip irrigation
Along the Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra border, local ice-cream sellers fill light density disposable plastics with ice candies known as “Pepsee”. These plastic rolls are then divided into smaller portions and used in place of drip tubes that are placed directly at the root zone of the plants.
Aaruni Tilting Bullock Cart
This cart has an additional wheel to balance the load and a adjustable tilting and dumping mechanism that can be controlled by a lever located alongside the cart driver.
Micro Windmill Mobile Charger
This is a small handheld windmill that operates whenever there is a draft of wind. It can charge a mobile phone and other equipment, including laptops.
A copper container is placed at the centre of the cooler and surrounded by a hollow copper tube covered by cotton. Water from a nearby source is brought in and then directed towards two separate pipes.
Powered by a 1.5-HP motor, the device has two sharp blades, attached to a cylindrical metal rod, which is useful in dehusking more coconuts compared to manual effort.
Made of iron rods and metal wires and grounded with two poles on either side. While climbing, the metal wire spreads around the tree that is connected to the footrest and gets tightened and helps in climbing.
This auto start and stop handpump uses old and discarded parts of different engines. Weighing only 16 kg, it can lift 720 litre/hour to a height of 30 metre from a borewell of any depth without a submersible motor and works on 12 DC volts!
Banta is a popular lemon-based cold drink sold locally in heavy glass bottles. Push in the marble to start drinking.