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#TechThursdays - Remote-controlled toilet bed is a life saver for people bedridden due to disability

Our story on #TechThursday this week is about much more than tech. It's also a remarkable story about a man's love and dedication to his ailing wife. Read more to find out.

Three years ago, when S Saravana Muthu's wife, Krishnaammal underwent a surgery, she was bedridden for two months., forcing her to depend on others for every single task, including going to the toilet.

Saravana, a welding labourer in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, could not bear to watch her suffer.

"For nearly two months, doctors prescribed complete bed rest. We have a small house, with no toilet attached, and to use the toilet, she would have to walk down a flight of 20 stairs accompanied by me and my mother-in-law. She would cry every day and I could not bear to watch her suffer. I started thinking about how her situation was temporary but so many others experience this all their lives, says Saravana.

Saravana, a class 3 dropout, has an inventive bent of mind, and had previously developed devices to break coconuts and check pollution levels in septic tanks. He now set his mind upon a remote-operated toilet bed. After five attempts, the device, now registered as Toilet Cot Remote Control, finally worked. Saravana persisted through the failures, working on the bed at nights after finishing his day shift at the welding shop. He spent Rs 16,000 on getting it right and backing him was Jose Kumar, a photo studio owner in the neighbourhood.

"When he showed me the design, I thought it could benefit many people, says Jose. "I decided to help him out with money and moral support. I could not study beyond Class 12 myself though I wanted to and decided to help him.

How the toilet bed works

The bed has two gear motors that help the attached toilet pot move vertically and sideways. There is a a remote-controlled flushing system for the pot.

The bed has a flush tank, a closet and a pipe connected to the septic tank. The patient can operate the toilet with the help of a remote. The buttons help them open the shutter and the closet as well as flushing the toilet. They can pee in comfort and privacy. - S Saravana Muthu, Developer, Toilet Bed

The innovation won him second prize from the National innovation Foundation-India of the Department of Science and Technology earlier this year. Saravana received a trophy, certificate and a Rs two lakh cash award from the President of India.

After a local media outlet published news about his innovation, Saravana has started receiving orders from across India. He has made 400 beds so far but has had to say no to many others.

"I get 10-15 calls a day but to do it on that scale, I need a factory and an investment of crores. If I get government support, I can do this on a large scale, he says.

Ketna Mehta, Founder-Trustee of NGO Nina Foundation, calls Saravana's innovation fantastic and innovative. "Nina Foundation frequently receives desperate calls from quadriplegics and paraplegics that a family member, who is their primary caregiver, has fallen sick or their attendant has not turned up! The basic morning routine of bowel management of inserting suppository and cleaning needs support and assistance. This is a major and real issue facing our friends with spinal cord injury and a major cause for depression and low morale."

Mehta says the toilet bed will help those with SCI and other disabilities who are bedridden. "Companies with CSR funds must show their compassion and love by coming forward to fund this project and widely distribute this 'Made in India' innovative toilet bed product which offers dignity and an improved quality of life. More than deep pockets we need companies who are large- hearted".

If you wish help Saravana, contact him at 9585475039.



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