Light, action and entertainment! The hand-cranked spinning wheel, popularised by the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, has now been given an electronic tweak to transform it into a hi-tech gadget that not only produces yarn but also lights a bulb on demand and can even power a transistor radio.
Called the 'e-charkha,' the invention by a Bangalore-based engineer is an ordinary charkha fitted with a battery and connected to a LED light. The energy produced by the charkha while it is being spun is used to charge the battery attached to the bottom of the spinning wheel and the power thus generated can power up a LED light used in home lamps.
The maintenance-free lead battery fixed to the charkha functions as an inverter, and charges itself from the energy generated when the charkha is spun.
"The big spinning wheel is connected to a generator and using the charkha for approximately two hours can generate enough power to light up an LED bulb, or to play a small transistor radio for around 6 to 7 hours," says Hiremath, an engineer who has patented the invention.
Launched formally by the President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil at a function in the capital recently the gadget has won approval of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission, which is planning to induct two lakh pieces across Khadhi weaving centres across the county.
The engineer, whose company Flexitron, has patented the invention says, "In remote areas of the country, uninterrupted and regular electricity is still a dream. The charkhas will help boost the income of the weavers in rural and far-flung areas as well as break the monotony that they are accustomed to. They can listen to the radio while they spin."