A student innovator who inspired the world with her solar ironing cart is now India’s Batonbearer for the ongoing 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay

New Delhi : Vinisha Umashankar, a student innovator turned environmentalist from Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu, has been selected as a “changemaker” and Batonbearer for the ongoing 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay (12-15 January 2022) in India. The young innovator and buddying environmentalist Ms. Vinisha has been an inspiration for many, and that was an important driver for being selected as a baton-bearer.

The 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay started at the Buckingham Palace in London on 7th October 2021 and is scheduled to conclude on 28th July 2022 at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games after travelling 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth for 294 days. With the arrival of baton in India, the 27th nation in the route, the Queen’s Baton Relay will continue in India from 12th to 15th January 2022.

Ms. Vinisha Umashankar received the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards instituted by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for her mobile ironing cart, which uses solar panels to power a steam iron box and turned out to be an inspiration for the world after her speech at the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2021 at Glasgow, Scotland.

Today’s success of Ms. Vinisha reflects the significance of Institutional support mechanisms and a conducive eco-system for innovators. Following the conferring of award, NIF had been very instrumental in driving prototype development and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection for Vinisha’s innovation. NIF is also committed towards improving the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of her innovation in partnership with the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE).

A key benefit of Vinisha’s solar ironing cart is that it eliminates the need for coal for ironing bringing about a welcome shift towards clean energy. End-users can move around and offer services at doorstep for increasing their daily earning. The ironing cart can also be fitted with a coin-operated GSM PCO, USB charging points, and mobile recharging, which can fetch extra income. It is an ingenious solar-powered alternative for the millions of charcoal burning ironing carts for pressing clothes and can benefit the workers and their families. The device can also be powered by pre-charged batteries, electricity, or diesel-powered generator in the absence of sunlight.

India is committed towards solving the global climate change problem through Science, Technology, and Innovation based solutions. It’s the next generation of innovators like Vinisha who provide the nation a strong hope that “Tomorrow can be better than today” by virtue of their scientific thinking, societal focus, and institutional support mechanism like the one offered by NIF in India, which could be replicated in other parts of the world.

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