A process to recover nutrients from human urine and an antibacterial shirt to keep the body fresh in sweltering heat are some of the innovative solutions offered to the industry by students of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) for the benefit of common people.
These are part of around 500 research-based projects showcased at the annual exhibition of the premier institution.
Students of the Centre for Rural Development and Technology have devised a technology that can retrieve nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from human urine.
“Human urine contains 70 percent nitrogen, 50 percent potassium and 50 percent phosphorus and if retrieved it has potential to replace any kind of chemical fertilizer and will be environment-friendly,” Vijayaraghavan M. Chariar, associate professor at IIT-D said.
Chariar has been working on the project with a team of seven students.
“We have developed reactors which have the capacity to trap nutrients from urine. These reactors can be fitted to the toilets for retrieval,” said Chariar.
The team has also developed waterless urinals fitted with odour traps and biological blocks to minimize the use of water and make urine odourless.
The technology is already in use at some toilets in IIT-D and the industry has also acquired the technology for replicating it in public loos.
Students from the textile technology department have developed fresh and cool smart technology for garments.
“We have developed silver nanoparticles which when applied to fabric during its manufacturing makes it antimicrobial and keeps it fresh and cool in sweltering heat,” Manjeet Jassal, professor, research group on smart and innovative textile materials said.
Jassal said the technology has been successfully transferred to RESIL Chemicals, Bangalore, which is Asia’s largest specialty textile chemical company.
The product has already been used by brands like Marks & Spencer, Louis Philippe, Raymonds and Amante.
But that is not all.
The other innovative products include a biosensor chip to detect pesticides, heavy metals, aflatoxin and bacterial contamination in milk; multi-functional wheelchairs and protecting household items from earthquakes.
“We have devised a multifunctional wheelchair which, apart from serving the purpose of navigation, also aids the physically handicapped to use western toilets themselves, reach objects at some height,” said Ansal E, a student from the Department of Applied Mechanics.
According to IIT, some of the projects have caught the attention of industry, with many companies seeking to develop these ideas on a larger scale and take them to the people.
“In the last few years, our strategy has been to invest more in research and development. The innovative solutions offered by students are part of this approach and we have got a very good response from industry,” Suneet Tuli, Dean, Industrial Research and Development said.
Tuli said industry has approached the institute for technology transfer of several products to produce the products on a large scale.