New Delhi: A wearable undergarment device that protects elderly persons from injuries sustained during falls, particularly in the hip and pelvis areas, designed by students at the Indian Institute of Technology here will soon be retailed online.
Conceptualised by students of the institute's mechanical engineering department, the self contained undergarment is fitted on the sides with plastic protection to shield the femur bone that juts out from either side of the hip area.
"The device is made of 100 per cent cotton and is composed of plastic foam with micro-cellular injection. The protection is porous and of high tensile strength.
"In case of a fall, it protects the femur bone by dispersing the load to surrounding tissues. So, therefore, there are no injuries or bruises," says Prof Naresh Bhatnagar, who is heading the project.
Owing to its small size, light weight and minimalist design, the device does not impair mobility. The project is among the several innovations from the premier institute that will soon be available for purchase in the online market.
"It has been transfered to the industry and will soon be available on Flipkart at a price less than Rs 1,000. A similar device is available in the US for 100 USD, but this is the first in India," says Bhatnagar.
During its testing stage, the team found out that "not a single fracture was recorded" for people who had agreed to try it, but the major challenge that persists is to convince old people to actually use it, says the professor.
"While the compliance among the elderly is 70 per cent to 80 per cent, 92 per cent of those who gave it a shot felt that they said that they could leave it on while walking," he says.
The team says it has tested the device in the geriatric ward at the All India Institute of Medical Science and a senior citizen society in Ghaziabad among other institutions.
The hip protective device, that has been sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, is also set to be on exhibit during the 12th edition of IIT Delhi's 'Open House' that is open to the public on April 23.
The day-long 'Open House exposition', has lined up over 500 research projects and 80 demonstration projects focusing on "high societal impact."