Prashant quit college in his final year
For Prashant, engineering had forever been his aim. He grew up dreaming of designing innovative devices which can help bring a change to society. But Prashant Gade quit his dream course of electronic engineering in his final year. “It was a tremendous let-down for me. I would see my professors and fellow students concerned only about grades and rote-learning. I could not align myself with that attitude, depriving myself of creative thinking and practical experience. So I dropped out,” shares Prashant.
He joined a six-month-long FAB training course, where he decided to make a robotic arm as his project. “I was inspired by Bionicohand maker Nicolas Huchet who had made a bionic arm for himself after losing his own hand in a work accident,” reveals Prashant. His encounter with the little girl without arms affected him deeply, which is when he strengthened his determination to develop a low-cost semi-bionic arm, not for profit, but solely to help the people in distress.
All you need to know about Inali arms
Prashant’s Inali arms mimic similar technology as the imported prosthetic arms, and parts of it are substituted by cost-effective alternatives. “We use different materials, mainly stainless steel for the inner machine, while silicone and polyethylene are used for giving it a more realistic outer look. To be honest, our initial prototypes were not that successful, as users complained about fitment problems and operational clumsiness. But, our latest upgraded version is made in such a way that the user can easily control his fingers by shoulder thrusts and gestures. We are working to further customise the design into a myo-prosthetic arm such that distinct finger movements can be performed, just like a normal arm,” Prashant explains.
He named the arms after his girlfriend
He has named his invention Inali after his girlfriend, whom he admires for standing by him through thick and thin. “There was a time after I dropped out of college and my FAB course when even my own parents lost faith in me. There were a lot of struggles and obstacles. She supported me all through it,” he expresses.
Fixing the price of the Inali arms left Prashant in another fix for some time. He shares, “I met with a little boy in Mumbai who had lost both his arms in an accident. I proposed to his father to come to my lab in Jaipur and we would give him Inali arms for free. But, he straightaway declined. That’s when I realised that people doubt the viability and credibility of a product without a price tag attached to it, especially when the market rates were humongous. That’s when we fixed the price at Rs 50,000.”
Collaboration with Jaipur Foot
The Inali arms are designed my Prashant and his team at his new lab in Jaipur, in contractual collaboration with the famous non-profit Jaipur Foot. The arms have been given to patients all over India, where expert doctors perform the fitting, as mandated by governmental regulation. Prashant’s invention has been tried on and appreciated by his idol Nicholas Huchet.
Deependra Mehta, Technical Secretary of Jaipur Foot and the son of founder Padma Bhushan D R Mehta informed Efforts For Good about their work with Prashant Gade. “Prashant approached us two years ago with his initial prototype of the Inali arms. We agreed to support a determined young entrepreneur like him, and gave him rent-free lab facilities on a five-year contract basis. He supplies us with around 500 prosthetic arms every year, which is then distributed to the needy, free of cost.”
Efforts For Good take
At present, Prashant’s goal is to design a similar prosthetic leg using 3D printing and other advanced technology, alongside helping the Inali arms reach out to more people in need.
Over four decades ago, the Jaipur Foot created a sensation in India, owing to the millions of people it helped to stand up again. Prashant Gade’s invention is indeed another similar breakthrough in the technology field, where it is helping hundreds to feel independent and confident again.
For availing an Inali arm or helping an underprivileged person to get the benefit, contact Prashant Gade at 7875078907.