Innovators and entrepreneurs in India have quickly responded to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as innovation in India has soared in recent weeks with several start-ups emerging that are incubated by universities.
Social distancing and contact tracing have become buzzwords in response to COVID-19 around the world. A specific problem after lockdown measures ease, is knowing how to mitigate the spread of the virus in public places such as malls, airports, bus and train stations. A startup based in Kerala, called Asimov Robotics has deployed a fleet of robots at entrances to office buildings and other public places to dispense hand sanitizer and deliver public awareness health messages about the virus. The robots developed by Asimov Robotics are being used in hospital isolation wards to carry medicine and food, easing the pressure on medical staff.
Since ventilators for critical care are in shortage, several startups such as Nocca Robotics, Aerobiosys Innovations, and AgVa Healthcare are creating low-cost and easy to use portable ventilators that can be deployed even in rural areas of India. However, these ventilators need medical approval before they can be introduced to the end user.
Other startups have chosen to help the government’s public information campaign by developing platforms to disseminate government notifications. The Kerala state government has launched an app called GoK-Direct Kerala. It sends out important updates and travel information via phone notifications and SMS to older devices.
The government launched the COVID-19 solution challenge that invites entrepreneurs and innovators to offer solutions and ideas for tackling the pandemic. Similar crowdsourcing platforms from startup incubators like Break Corona have received 1,300 ideas and 180 product solutions within the first two days of their launch. Similarly, volunteers have set up the Coronasafe Network, a real time and open source platform that has details on COVID-19 precautions, tools and responses that serve as a useful starter kit for innovators.