The instrument christened ‘Balance Mate’, works on the concept of centre of gravity and muscle memory. The device, targeted at young individuals (25–30 years old), trains the mind for a balanced body posture, reducing the chance of venous or joint related issues later in life.
‘Most of us tend to shift our weights on one leg while standing, leading to veins or joint related issues. This external wearable device will first analyze the standing posture, will then create a training chart, followed up by a physical and IoT based signals, every time it detects a faulty body posture. The signals will ensure that your brain responds immediately and corrects it. Over time (two-three weeks), the user is expected to develop muscle memory for the right body posture’, informs Brahma S. P., one of the founders of SwitchKase Technologies Pvt Ltd.
Balance Mate was conceptualized by Brahma, along with two other BNMITians, Abilesh M., and Akilesh M., while the trio was in their second semester.
‘We wanted to solve a real-life problem for our on-campus Innovative Project Lab (IPL) competition. While we were looking for a problem to solve, we observed that most of our teachers had faulty body postures, resulting in joint issues. However, although the product was conceptualized observing the lecturers on BNMIT campus and those with long working hours on feet, it can find its use in orthopaedics and in patients with knee surgery’, says Abilesh.
The Journey from Conception to Birth
Balance Mate’s success journey started in February 2018 with winning the IPL competition. This was the first time the trio foresaw the device’s potential. The team continued to participate in various city level hackathons, before they landed at IIT, Kanpur to enter an Asia level innovation project competition in November 2019. Balance Mate won the third prize
In 2020, the team received the New Generation Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (NewGen IEDC) funding under the aegis of BNMIT that led to the completion of the project. NewGen IEDC is a program launched by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India.
‘We received the funding of INR 2 lakh to complete the product. This helped us with the manufacturing and Print Circuit Board development process. We could bring it to life with the help of NewGen funding’, recalls Akilesh.
Balance Mate can develop muscle memory or subconscious memory for a balanced body posture within three weeks, downsizing the odds of developing venous or joint related issues later in life.
The start-up recently got incubated at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and is all set to conduct the physical trial on around 300 individuals to prove the efficacy of the product.
Affordability is the Key
The device works on circular economy model and does not require much training to use. The users can rent the device and can be totally off it, immediately after a full-strength muscle memory develops.
‘Our device is for those who cannot afford expensive medical devices that are currently available. The idea behind Balance Mate is to help poor people afford world class healthcare. The device can be rented by individual for two-three weeks for training and once they develop the muscle memory, it can be used by another user. We are planning to rent it at INR 200-300 per week with a refundable deposit of INR 1500-2000’, informs Akilesh.
Hackathons Pay Off
According to Brahma, every tech enthusiast, especially students, should participate in hackathons.
‘Hackathons provide a fantastic learning opportunity and force you to get out of your comfort zone and grow. It also opens your eyes to new career choices and develop intense networking. Last but not the least, it is an ultimate step towards entrepreneurship. Moreover, it is the money that we generated at the hackathons that helped us in filing a patent’, adds Brahma.
Agrees Abilesh. ‘Not only we got a chance to network with various industry experts, but we also got truckloads of feedback that we incorporated in our product and improved it’, says Abilesh.