The finale of the Invention Factory program took place on July 1, 2022, at IIT Bombay, where twenty selected student participants from IITs across the country demonstrated their unique inventions. One such invention was showcased by Rahul Bansal and Phalgun Vyas, students from IIT Ropar and Madras, who presented their ‘Thermoregulatory Vest’ to the public. The jury members were thoroughly impressed, and the student duo took home the third place prize.
Rahul is a third-year mechanical engineering student from IIT Ropar, and Phalgun is a fourth-year dual degree student in BTech chemical engineering and MTech data science from IIT Madras. The partners received a cash award of Rs 50,000 along with a certificate for their innovation during the finale. They were delighted when one of the jury members expressed an interest in investing in their prototype.
What led to the breakthrough creation of a thermoregulatory vest?
One time, Rahul and Phalgun were sharing a non-air-conditioned hostel room at night and used to rush to the comfortable AC hall during the daytime. The constant juggling motivated them to develop a unique solution—a vest that keeps the body cool during the summer and warm during the winter.
Furthermore, the theme of the competition asked for an invention that could solve current problems faced by the masses. That is when the idea of innovating a cool vest accelerated into the development stage. The entire process of innovation — which included pitching, patenting and prototyping was undertaken during the event, which lasted for six weeks. The first week was reserved for ideation and the remaining five for prototyping. During this time, the duo connected with each other’s ideas and started working as a team.
A one-of-a-kind vest
A switch-enabled device is incorporated into the vest, which is made of cotton and linen. A heat exchanger and thermoelectricity are combined to power this device. Upon activation, the vest provides either cooling or warming, as needed. Further, a cardiologist was also consulted to study body sensitivity. The batteries employed are low voltage and are mainly used in wearables.
In addition, the circuitry was provided to prevent short circuits, overcharging, and discharging of the batteries, restricting the chances of electric shocks or explosions. The prototype comes with a charger, and it can run for more than six hours after a single charge. According to the inventors, it can provide a maximum temperature difference of 15 degrees Celsius on both the hot and cold sides. The novel technology employed is user-friendly, energy-efficient, and lightweight, keeping in mind the needs of traffic police and delivery personnel.
The innovation is currently at the prototyping stage, and the duo expects to launch it in the market shortly.
The pair was under the tutelage of professors Amber Shrivastava and Sandip Mondal. They expressed gratitude to professor Eric Lima and Alan Wolf from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, who were also the programme’s co-founders. IIT Bombay’s Maker Bhavan Foundation granted funding of Rs 50,000 to each participating team. A significant amount has been invested in the prototyping and filing of a provisional patent in India and the US for the innovation.