Knee ankle-foot orthosis wins innovator Aneesh Karma 2019 Aarohan award
Aneesh Karma, an innovator from BETiC (Biomedical Engineering and Technology incubation Center) IIT-Bombay has won the Infosys foundation – 2nd Aarohan social innovations awards for 2019. Aneesh won the award in the healthcare silver category for a low cost knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFO) which offers a solution for people affected with polio, paralysis, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disorders and accidents.
Since 2018 the Aarohan Social Innovation Awards established by Infosys Foundation recognise and reward people, teams, and NGOs behind innovative solutions for the underprivileged in India. Among the winners this year is Aneesh Karma who innovated KAFO (knee foot ankle orthosis).
Commonly available callipers are uncomfortable
Aneesh, who comes from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, is a polio patient and has experienced first hand the hardships people with polio face. He decided to modify the commonly available low-cost top-lock callipers as they are In 2018, he joined BETiC-IIT-Bombay to develop the idea further.
Speaking to NewzHook earlier, Aneesh had said:
My wife is also polio affected and still needs the support of calipers to walk although I have managed to overcome some of the effects of my disability. The point is there are thousands of people like us and I wanted to do something to help them. That led me to work on KAFO. I often slip because my leg is weak and my wife’s foot swells up. When we meet doctors and patients in rural areas, they share similar experiences. – Aneesh Karma, Innovator, KAFO
Features of KAFO
KAFO, on the other hand, is easy to wear and take off and comes with a belt that can be opened easily. It has an automatic lock so when the user outs his or her foot down, it locks. KAFO offers a solution for people affected by polio, paralysis, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disorders and accidents. It is also comfortable to wear with a 135-degree angle flexion for squatting, walking and cycling. At just 1.3 kg weight, it can provide support to a person weighing up to 120 kg. It is also compatible with different types of footwear and is affordably priced.
Many honours for KAFO
Aneesh’s innovation has also won awards such as NCPEDP- Mphasis Universal Design Awards 2019, The Big Idea Summit and Expo 2020, IIT Kanpur’s 2018 Techkriti Innovator award and many others. The Infosys Foundation also rewarded Aneesh and his team with a prize money of 10 lakh rupees.
“For any innovator, the initial years are swamped with financial issues that do not necessarily limit but definitely slow down the pace of developing the innovations. Such monetarily assistance ease the pressure on that front and allows a smooth channel for the process of innovating a device”, said Aneesh.
Professor B. Ravi, Founder, BETiC called the award a validation of his team’s efforts. “Anyone can be a successful innovator- assuming they have enough fire, and have access to a supportive eco-system. This award is a validation of our efforts to nurture promising innovators from rural areas, and to make low cost medical innovation a reality.”
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