Start-up India receives over 550 tech proposals to fight Covid-19

M Ramesh Chennai | Updated on April 15, 2020 Published on April 15, 2020

Solutions are about movement tracking, geo-fencing, protective equipment and sanitisation

Start-up India, an initiative of the Government of India to develop the start-up ecosystem in the country, has received an overwhelming response to its call for technological solutions to fight Covid-19.

By April 14, a day ahead of the deadline, Start-up India received 551 proposals from start-ups in 23 States. More proposals might be expected on the final day of the ‘Start-up Challenge’ call for solutions to overcome the pandemic

More than 70 proposals have been shortlisted and sent to the office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India, according to sources in Invest India, the investment facilitation cell in the Ministry of Commerce. A few solutions are currently being tested with some corporate houses.

Wristbands, drones, to the rescue

Most of the proposals talk of solutions for movement tracking, geo-fencing, personal protective equipment and large area sanitisation, sources in Invest India told BusinessLine.

For example, a Pune-based start-up called RegalarTech has developed software that could be integrated with wristbands. Kavita Salvi, Director, RegalarTech , told BusinessLine that the person wearing the wristband would not be able to remove it easily — if he or she tampers with it, an alert would be sent out immediately. In this way, this is an improvement over mobile-based solutions, for mobile phones could be left home when the person breaks the quarantine.

The band on the wrist of the person expected to stay isolated will keep sending information about the person’s physical conditions and movements regularly to a central server. Kavita said that RegalarTech has developed the software and the hardware, freely available in the market.

Another start-up, Aiotize, based in Chandigarh, has proposed drone-based monitoring. As the drone flies overhead, it captures thermal images of people below. Such a system comes in handy to monitor people in public gatherings. Aiotize, a boot-strapped enterprise set up in 2018, also has stationary-camera based solutions.

“The thermal video feed is sent to our back-end and the analytics algorithm is designed to detect the thermal values from the pixels in the video,” Shivansh Sethi, CEO and Founder of Aiotize, told BusinessLine. There is a threshold value set in the system and whenever a higher value is detected in the system it raises a flag and alerts the authorities, Sethi explained.

Tapping AI for surveillance

A solution offered by another start-up, Wobot Intelligence based in New Delhi, is somewhat similar to Aiotize’s. This company specialises in ‘computer vision’.

“We want to solve the biggest problem in surveillance — analysis of tonnes of data (that are) in the form of videos,” says the company in its website.

Today, many establishments have CCTV-based surveillance, but the cameras only send in the videos. Somebody then has to manually look at all the videos to catch anything amiss. “CCTVs are often reduced to a mere tool for post-mortem analysis,” says Wobot Intelligence.

To solve this and make sense of all the data, the company has developed “a layer of Artificial Intelligence” which makes the system capable of doing surveillance “on behalf of the human eye.” The company’s machine learning algorithms can detect any deviations in the standard operating procedures and flag them.

Invest India has listed RegalarTech, Aiotize and Wobot Intelligence as “key innovations” on its website. Details of all the proposals received under the Start-up Challenge will be provided on Friday, sources in Invest India said.

Published on April 15, 2020

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