Meet Prashant Gade, a college dropout from Khandwa Madhya Pradesh; invents an affordable hand for India’s large disabled population.
Giving one’s life a meaning
It was found that every year in India over 40,000 people lose their upper arms and 85% of them continue to live without any solution as most of them hail from underprivileged section- factory labourer’s who lose their arms in factory mishaps or road accidents so Prashant decided to quit his job and graduation to create an affordable electronic prosthetic arm.
Prashant lost his grandfather at an early age, one of his favorite people in the world; he grew up listening to historical and mythological stories from him.
After his grandfather’s last rites; Prashant asked his mother, why were grandfather’s clothes been removed and why didn’t he carry anything along?
His mother replied; “When we die we leave everything on earth, we don’t take anything along with us; even the richest people cannot take their money with them.” This made an impact on him Prashant not just wanted to live life; he wanted to do something for the society.
Prashant quit his college
He had always dreamed of becoming an engineer and creating innovative devices that could have a social impact, so when he enrolled for electronics engineering course it was dream come true; but in final year he faced reality “it was 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.
Efforts for Good
One morning in pune Prashant met a seven year old girl who was born without arms, this touched him so he decided to give two prosthetic arms to her, the company he contacted for this quoted a price of 24 lakhs for both arms; he was shocked; a child will grow, so every two years she will have to opt for new pair of arms; it is impossible for any person to afford it.
He enrolled for a six month FAB training course in pune, where he decided to make a robotic arm his project- inspired by Nicolas Huchet a Bionic hand maker; who made a bionic arm for himself after losing his own arm in an accident.
His Invention was designed and perfected in his imagination.
Foundation of Inali Arms
At age 23, Prashant began creating a prototype, a low cost semi bionic arm which over few years led to Inali Arm.
Not for profit, but solely to help people in distress.
He has named his invention Inali after his girlfriend, who he admires for standing by him through every thick and thin.
There were many challenges including on personal front, as his family stopped talking to him as they were unhappy with his decision to quit job and devote his full time towards Inali Arm.
The other challenge was affordability, the cost factor but he was not going to let go: it took nearly two years to come up with an affordable solution as he had to design circuits, to keep cost low.
His idea impressed the technical secretary of Jaipur Foot, who soon gave him a seed grant to design seven such hands.
Prashant took a photograph of cheque and sent it to his father, to which his father said he respected his decision and then he was on his own travelling to Jaipur for real experience.
He had to face many challenges while working there rent, food, travel and other expenses; sometimes he had to prioritize shelter over meals or eating just once a day.
He continued to pursue funds through various online campaigns and videos on YouTube, soon his hard work found recognition in USA, where a retired professor reached out to support him in 2016; happy with his work they supported him by gifting 10 machines to expedite his work.
How it works
The prosthetic arm designed by Prashant has sensors that read signals coming from brain resulting in the movement of the limb, with similar technology as imported prosthetic arms, parts of it are substituted by cost effective material.
At present his invention Inali Arms is India’s most affordable bionic arm for INR 50,000
Inali Arms is available in market, but Prashant wants to reach out to upper limb amputees in rural areas.
Prashant and his team travels to rural parts of India and organize free electronic arms distribution camps for people in need.
Inali arms are durable for more than 3 years and can pick 10 kg of weight at a time.
In last two years over 700 arms have been designed and given for free, while nearly 300 have been sold across the country.
One major milestone in his journey, when his invention was eventually tried and appreciated by his inspiration Nicholas Huchet.
Prosthetic arm designed by him can be used by soldiers of armed forces, who have lost their limbs in conflicts and wars
“I am visiting the government to understand needs and requirements and the standards they have set,” explains Prashant
His future plans are to design myoelectric upper limb prosthetic arm, such that sharp finger movements can be performed just like normal arm.
Help Prashant to make difference to life of people living without arms.
Contact: Prashant Gade at 7875078907
Details for bank transfer:
Bank: SBI Civil Lines Khandwa
Account no: 38479014495
ACC: INALI FOUNDATION
Branch code 004092
PAN : AAECI8723P
(Interviewed and written by Raavya Sarda)