Monday, October 27, 2008

[Jugaad #3] Rainwater Harvesting for Commerical Purpose

Product Description Using rainwater to service cars

Inventor Mandovi Motors

Source Credits

Estimated Cost Not clear

Problem Domain Environment/Ecology


Mandovi motors of Karnataka has come up with an innovative idea to meet its huge demand of water for servicing cars. The idea is based upon the basic observation that the roof of the workshop covered a huge area and thus could collect a substantial amount of rainfall. Quoting from the source article

It covers an area of 360 square metres. Calculating at the rate of 3500 mm average rainfall of this district - Dakshina Kannada – the roof catches 12, 60,000 litres of water.

Since the available rainwater was abundant, they had to dig out a large infiltration pit around the casing pipe of the borewell - 15 feet length, 12 feet breadth and 5 feet depth. Using boulders, granite stone pieces and sand - all filtering materials - the pit was refilled. Later it was covered with a strong iron lid so as to permit vehicles to run over it.

This scheme of using the rainwater to recharge the borewell has helped Mandovi to get rid of their water shortage. This has also benefitted Mandovi motors in other ways. Apart from saving them money in buying tanker water during shortage, they have also got rid of the problem of patchy windows. Patchy windows are caused due to dissolved salts in borewell water which show up on the car windows once the water has dried up. As rainwater is the purest form of water, this problem was automatically taken care.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Innovations 2009 at Persistent Systems, Pune

Check out Innovations 2009:

Innovations is an yearly conference that tries to showcase the best innovations in any field in India. It is organized by the IIT Bombay Alumni Association of Pune and will be held on January 10 and 11, 2009 at Persistent Systems, Pune. The last date for submissions is 30th September, so if you have done something innovative, you should consider nominating yourself.PuneTech, Sep 2008

Read the whole article for more details.

[Jugaad #2] CaptainPad: Automated restaurant order processing

Product Description  CaptainPad: Automated restaurant order processing
Month/Year of Release 2007
Inventor Wings iNet Technologies, Pune, India
Source Credits PuneTech Website
Estimated Cost Rs. 2.5lakhs - Rs. 6lakhs (as per [1])
Problem Domain Food and Hospitality 
To automate restaurant order processing from order taking to preparation to billing.
The CaptainPad is a clever use of technology to solve a very practical problem. It provides an elegant solution to the conventional problem of restaurant order taking.  In a typical restaurant, the food order is taken by a Captain and then delivered to the waiter who takes it to a kitchen or bar or pantry. Billing is then done separately. There is a chance of error at every possible stage in the process ultimately leading to customer dissatisfaction. It is manually intensive and time consuming.  The process also wastes a lot of valuable time which leads to longer service times for customers.
The CaptainPad is a smart technological solution to automate this process and provide an easy to use interface for everybody from Captain to the Chef to the Biller.  With the CaptainPad, the whole process is literally controlled from a wireless touchpad handheld. With all the menu loaded on the device, the captain has to just push right buttons to place an order for a table. The order is then wirelesslessly transmitted to a server which then pushes it out to the respective departments for readying the order. The waiters are then informed as soon as the order is ready for serving. Simulataneously, the bill for the customer keeps updating and is readily delivered when the customer is ready to pay. Thus the whole system now functions more effectively and smootly.  To achieve all of this , the CaptainPad solution consists of the following: 
  • Wireless touch screens handhelds like a Palm
  • A fewPCs to display the orders at the Kitchen and to the waiters.
  • Printers for printing the order tickets at the kitchen.
  • An order management software running on a server.
  • Wireless routers to provide infrastructure to the whole system.

Credits : Wings iNet webpage.

Related Information

Monday, September 15, 2008

[Jugaad #1] Branchless Banking using Mobile Phones

Product  Description  
ZERO Platform : A  low cost Branchless Banking solution using a mobile phone
Month/Year of Release 2008
Source Credits  The Economic Times
Estimated Cost  Rs. 30,000  
Problem Domain Banking in Rural areas
To create an affordable banking solution to enable penetration of banking in rural areas and increase usage of electronic commerce in rural areas.
  • Security and reliability of transactions. 
  • Availability of mobile coverage in rural areas. 
  • Lack of continuous power in rural areas.
The product developed by ALW is essentially a Bank branch contained within a Mobile Phone. The whole solution comprises of the following :
  • A mobile phone with good memory to store up to 50000 customer records (fingerprint templates, photographs etc), encryption based security and bluetooth connectivity.
  • A printer-cum-fingerprint scanning machine with bluetooth connectivity
  • A cash box to store upto Rs. 1,00,000.
  • A high resolution camera with bluetooth connectivity
The mobile device talks to the peripheral devices like scanners and camera via bluetooth for authentication purposes. The mobile devices talk to the ALW servers via EDGE or GPRS over a secure connection, which, in turn talk to the core banking servers of the client bank.  The solution offers facilities like depositing money, withdrawing money, electronic money transfer, crediting of pension money, insurance premium payments, depositing of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) wages and mobile recharge payments. 
None yet
Business Model
ALW gets paid for providing the infrastructure services while ALW's clients like Zero Mass, which actually provide banking in rural areas on behalf of client banks, gets paid on a per transaction basis. 
Related Information 
To Be Documented (TBDs)
  1. Cost incurred by customer for using the service
  2. Security Threat model and mitigations
  3. Photographs/Designs

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Inspiring article on Jugaadu innovations

My inspiration for this blog was this article in the August 24 2008 issue of The Week magazine. The beginning itself was inspirational enough to force me read the whole article and start this blog.
The good news is that we now believe we have an innate innovation streak and that it is something worth nurturing.

The article points out that the small-scale Indian businesses have realized their own potential for innovation and started using innovative ideas derived from local preferences to sell their products and compete with similar low-cost products from China. Competition for domestic markets from outside is forcing the small Indian businesses, who traditionally ruled the domestic markets, to constantly keep innovating for the price-savvy Indian consumer.

Some common examples of innovative ideas that the article cites are:
  • The invention of the Mehendi Cone and the Mehendi Stencil has given birth to a new industry of Mehendi artists who now charge a hefty sum for making artwork on your body.
  • The same old 18 feet sari (traditional Indian dress) has kept changing and adapting itself for the modern Indian women.
  • Some time back, Hindustan Petroleum set up community centres called Rasoi Ghars in a room provided by the village community equipped with a water connection, many gas stoves on a cooking platform, and a 'pay-as-you-use' metering facility.
Some examples of large-scale innovative ideas given are (some are taken verbatim from the article) :
  • The Tata Nano, touted as the worlds cheapest car priced at Rs. 1 lakh (~ $2500), has set new standards in low-cost automobile engineering.This car is specifically built for the price conscious middle-class Indian.
  • Kirloskar Brothers designed a pumping system for the Sardar Sarovar dam which could do the job at a fraction of the cost of any established pumping system.
  • Vortex Engineering, a Chennai-based company connected with IIT-Madras, has innovated an ATM that is ideal for rural areas-it costs about one fourth of currently available ATMs. It does not require an air-conditioned environment and does away with PIN numbers by using fingerprinting and other biometric means of identifying the user.
  • Gian Shala, an Ahmedabad based NGO, has made it possible for two kids to learn on one computer by splitting the screen in two, one half operated with the keyboard and the other half with the mouse. The result is lower cost per child and enhanced learning from each other.
The article ends with the following quote by Dr. Mashelkar which i believe sets the stage for our future. He says
"we should think of innovation as a movement. The I in India has stood for imitation and inhibition for far too long. It is high time it stood for innovation. And the best thing about this movement is that we have the jugaad energy of a billion of us to power it forward. "

Monday, September 1, 2008

What is "Jugaad"?

Welcome to the Indian "Jugaad" blog. Before i begin, let me first clarify the meaning of the word "Jugaad" and my reasons for starting this blog. First of all, the word itself is not my own but a colloquially used word in Northern India. This wikipedia entry suggests the following meanings :
  • As a noun, "jugaad" means a quick-easy-dirty fix or a resource that can be used as such.
  • As a verb, "jugaad" indicates the ingenuity to achieve results by out of box thinking, at times even temporary fixes.
There is a brilliant contraption by that same name that captures a very unique aspect about Indian ingenuity and which forms the inspiration for this blog. This contraption is essentially a motorized wagon completely built using cheaply available parts. It is probably the cheapest four wheeler anywhere in the world. The wagon is not built for comfort but just to serve the basic purpose of mass transportation in rural areas. The jugaad can supposedly carry upto 30-35 people (maybe more) and forms the connectivity backbone for villages. Truly amazing ! Isnt it a true "Jugaad"? Check for yourself in the photo below.

Photo Credits : Taken by Sanjay Ahlawat and it appeared in the August 24 2008 issue of The Week magazine.

This blog is exactly about this type of out-of-the-box thinking and i can safely bet that there are millions more in India. It is this very ingenuity of the common Indian that keeps this country ticking and makes it possible for the common man to survive. I have always pondered over the question of "Why India Works?" inspite of so many blatant issues in the administration and i now truly believe that the answer is summarized by this one word : Jugaad.

Purists would argue that the word Jugaad can have both a positive and a negative connotation. I do not disagree. But this blog is only above the positives. To that end, the purpose of this blog is to document the various ingenious Jugaads built by and for the common Indian. The hope is that this blog would enable the innovations to be accessible to a wider audience and hence propel further innovation.