IISc Bengaluru Student Wins James Dyson Award for Making Technology to Transfer Hearts Quickly

Deval Karia, a student of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru has been adjudged as the winner for the James Dyson Awards 2021 followed by Ananaya Singh and Vacha Patel, from the National Institute Of Design, Haryana and Nikhil Das from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

The James Dyson Award invites aspiring engineers, to apply their knowledge and discover new ways to improve lives through technology. The participants were evaluated by the jury led by Srijan Pal Singh, the CEO and Co-Founder of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Centre.

Karia’s invention — the Lifebox tackles the inability to move hearts from donor to recipient quickly using a system that extends the preservation time of the heart to allow for increased travel time and distances. It has been developed with a vision to explore drones as a transport channel for organs. The project adopted a user-in-the-loop approach to engineering design that began with an extensive literature review, user discussions, and empathy exercises.

“India has an abysmal rate of 200 heart transplants annually, despite a staggering 50,000 people in need. Institutional factors aside, the inability to move hearts from a donor to the recipient is a major hindrance to bridging this gap,” said Karia.

“The project has its genesis in a course taught by Prof B Gurumoorthy, Prof A Ghosal at CPDM, with a vision to explore drones for organ transportation. However, we soon realised that without active preservation techniques, drones will not do much to improve the rate of heart transplants in India. This led to a shift in focus: A portable system that can extend the out-of-body viable time of the heart.” Lifebox has further received support from BIRAC to develop the device and conduct a pilot clinical investigation.

Safaa invented by Ananaya Singh and Vacha Patel is a cheap and fuel-efficient way to acquire clean drinking water in rural villages, and settlements near polluted water sources. The product cleans water by the basic principle of distillation.

Diaraise by Nikhil Das is a dialysis accessory to safely raise the number of toxins removed from the blood during dialysis to improve the quality of life of the patients. It improves the effectiveness of dialysis for patients who get inadequate dialysis (upto 50 per cent). For the rest of the patients, it enables safe reduction of the duration of dialysis, thus, saving time and resources of the dialysis centres.

All three students along with 84 other finalists from across 28 countries will now proceed to the international stages of the competition. A panel of Dyson engineers will create a top 20 shortlist from these finalists. Sir James Dyson will then choose a winner and two runners-up. The top 20 shortlisted participants will be announced on October 13 and the winners will be declared on November 2021.

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