Chennai-based engineer Pravin Kumar has been announced as the national winner for India of the prestigious James Dyson Award 2023 for his innovation Mouseware, a movement-based technology designed for people with upper limb disabilities. By using the power of head movements, this technology enables control of smart devices, allowing individuals to effortlessly interact with digital devices. He will receive prize money of approximately INR 5 Lakhs (£5,000) and will also represent India in the International round where final winners will be handpicked by Sir James Dyson. The international top 20 shortlist for the James Dyson Award will be announced on 18th October 2022, and the international winners on 15th November 2022.
Mouseware, a project under Pravin’s IIT-Madras Research Park based tech startup Dextroware Devices, is progressing towards being commercialized. “As a judge for the James Dyson Award, witnessing Mouseware clinch the national victory is a moment of profound pride. Mouseware’s innovative approach to enhancing accessibility for individuals with disabilities demonstrates the true essence of engineering – solving problems, improving lives, and creating positive impact. This win serves as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring engineers and a testament to the transformative power of innovation when aligned with a strong sense of purpose,” said Sagnik Dey, Institute Chair Professor, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT Delhi.
Pravin started the company right after his graduation with the aim towards utilising technology for the larger societal good. The James Dyson Award recognizes inventions that solve real-life problems and create an impact, which aligns perfectly with the mission of Pravin’s Dextroware Devices: to create assistive technologies that empower individuals with disabilities through digital accessibility.
With the help of the prize money, the national winner aims to repurpose his patented technology for various applications that require gesture-based interaction. He aims to take the invention to NGOs, special schools, hospitals and rehab centres that work towards the upliftment of people with disabilities.
Speaking after the announcement of his innovation winning, Pravin Kumar, said “My inspiration for Mouseware comes from a deep-rooted belief in the power of technology to transform lives of all. The motivation to create Mouseware was born out of a desire to break down barriers for individuals with disabilities and empower them to become digitally independent. Winning the James Dyson Award is a tremendous honour, and it will significantly propel our mission forward. It not only validates our hard work but also provides us with a global platform to share Mouseware’s potential. With this recognition, we aspire to expand our reach and make Mouseware accessible to countless individuals worldwide.”
Highlighting sustainability as a central theme, Vikrant Pawra from Maharashtra secured the title of first runner-up for his innovation, the Hydrogen-Ethanol Fuel Powered Bike, which helps reduce pollution caused by vehicles. And, Harsh P from IIT Guwahati, secured the position of second runner-up for Zero Waste Toothbrush, which aims to solve the global issue of plastic pollution caused by the disposal of plastic toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes around the world.
The James Dyson Award encourages students across 28 countries to design something that solves a problem through clever yet simple engineering principles that address clear problems. The 2023 edition of the award in India saw an influx of ingenious concepts as young and bright engineers showcased innovative solutions aimed at tackling real-life challenges.