COVID-19 challenge: Class 9 student among 40 innovators to help overcome PPE shortage

Srinagar: The Innovation, Incubation, Entrepreneur Development (IIED) Center at National Institute of Technology (NIT) has received around 40 innovative ideas to overcome the shortage of PPE and facemasks.

IIED-NIT in partnership with Raheem Greens and Aaraf Foods has launched the `COVID-19 Open Innovation Challenge’ to develop quick and innovative solutions to address the impact of COVID 19. The winning submission will receive a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, a certificate, and necessary incubation facilities.

The theme of the challenge  include Innovative Quick Screening, Rapid Testing Kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Designing Supplies or Devices (face shields, masks, and low-cost frugal ventilators), Innovative ways/channels for the supply and distribution of essential items, Efficient handling/transportation and management of COVID-19 patients and overcoming the social stigma associated with COVID-19.

“We have received around 40 ideas from the local community. We will select 5 to 6 ideas after April 15. The idea should be less time-consuming and utilize low-cost apparatus so that it will be helpful in times of emergency,” said Professor Saad Parvez, Head, IIED Centre at NIT Srinagar.

The ideas submitted include developing face shields for medicos, a protective dress for people fighting the pandemic, testing kits, low-cost ventilators and software for identifying COVID affected zone.

“The innovation should be such that it serves the need of our doctors, paramedics, sanitation workers, and administrators who are fighting COVID-19,” he said.

Prof Saad noted they have received the ideas from a cross-section of the society. “Students, doctors, teachers, and researchers have submitted their ideas. The youngest innovator is a class 9th student,” he said.

Prof Saad said community participation is necessary to meet the COVID 19 challenge in Jammu and Kashmir. “Government is trying its level best, but the community has also an important role to assist the administration. During a crisis, we fall short of logistics. We need community participation so that local innovators come forward and convert their ideas into tangible products,” he said.

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