Fourth Call Awards

Transforming arsenic and fluoride crisis in drinking water into an economic enterprise

Abhijeet Gan

Rite Water Solutions (I) Pvt. Ltd., Nagpur
Mike German

WIST, Inc, Brighton, MA;
The Problem:

Over 100 million people across 18 of India's 23 states experience arsenic and fluoride poisoning by drinking contaminated groundwater, resulting in hundreds of thousands of people suffering from cancers, bone deformities, and early death.

The Solution:

economic opportunity by blending a novel, locally-sourced Donnan Principle-based arsenic and fluoride adsorbent (Donna-AFSorb) with a micro-franchise business model providing appropriate community-based or domestic water filters to villagers. A second-generation, multi-contaminant adsorbent has been developed that can be locally produced. The synthesis of Donna-AFSorb has been optimized at the lab-scale for treatment of arsenic, fluoride, phosphate, nitrate, selenite and uranium.

Development of a low-cost, portable auto-refractor

Sriram Ravilla

Aurolab, Madurai
Shivang R. Dave

PlenOptika, Somerville, MA
The Problem:

More than 1 billion people worldwide are suffering from poor vision because they do not have the prescription eyeglasses they need. A major barrier to obtaining eyeglasses in low-resource settings is getting an accurate prescription. There is an acute shortage of trained optometrists to prescribe eyeglasses and current technologies for measuring a prescription requires intensive training to use or are too expensive for widespread use.

The Solution:

The team aims to improve eye care through the QuickSee - an innovative, inexpensive, handheld device that quickly prescribes corrective eyeglasses with the click of a button. While maintaining the current standard of care, this device will enable a ten-fold reduction in the time needed to measure an eye for corrective eyeglasses and can be used by technicians with minimal training.

Developing novel biological seed treatments to confer abiotic stress tolerance in crops

Anup Karwa

SFPL Crop Life Sciences Private Limited, Krishidhan Seeds, Jalna, Maharashtra
Rusty Rodriguez

Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies, Seattle, WA
The Problem:

Only 9% of the planet landmass is conducive for crop production, while 91% is under abiotic and biotic stresses (drought, salinity, temperature) which are further likely to increase due to land degradation, urbanization and climate change. The global population is continuously expected to increase and agricultural production must increase to ensure food security.

The Solution:

The team intends to commercialize a proprietary novel seed treatment called BioEnsure which is developed by harnessing natural symbiotic microorganisms designed to improve the tolerance of plants to abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity and temperature is envisaged for commercialization. BioEnsure enables a broad-spectrum of agricultural crops to flourish under areas of drought, extreme temperatures and saline soils. The team intends to test and deploy this product in India besides also isolating native strains that would optimize the efficiency of final product.

Commercializing a transformational modular roofing solution for low-income urban homes

Hasit Ganatra

Re-Materials, Ahmedabad
Shashi Buluswar

ITT Inc., Oakland, CA
The Problem:

The majority of the houses in slums have inadequate roofs made of corrugated metal, asbestos cement sheets, or clay tiles. The families suffer from unbearably hot living spaces, high maintenance costs, frequent leaks, difficult installation, and a high risk of injury if the house collapses.

The Solution:

Re-Materials has developed an innovative low cost modular roofing tile for local slum housing based on compressed recycled cardboard. These tiles significantly improve household quality of life and can be sold at a much lower price than concrete, filling a market gap.