Friday, 5 May 2017

Sam Pitroda’s varsity to launch low-cost water purifier

Sam Pitroda’s varsity to launch low-cost water purifier
BENGALURU: City-based Trans Disciplinary University (TDU), the brainchild of technocrat Sam Pitroda, will launch a simple copper-based water purification device called TamRas, which costs a fraction of the price of reverse osmosis units available in the market.

TamRas is the university’s first commercial product developed after successful field tests in seven villages in Karnataka and two sites in Kenya.
The university claims that pathogens causing diarrhea get killed once water is stored in the copper-based unit for
8-10 hours.

“The ancient practice of storing drinking water in copper vessels is mentioned in ancient Ayurveda texts. Our first successful experiment was by storing contaminated water in copper pots. Since copper vessels are expensive, we have come up this innovation that does not require any electricity or fuel,” said Padma Venkat, professor and advisor at TDU School of Life Sciences. “There is huge potential for this product because diarrhea is the second-largest killer of children below the age of five, after pneumonia.”

At Rs 1,500, the copper-based device will be sold along with a 15-litre water container to which it is optimized. It will be launched Monday in Bengaluru as well as in HD Kote, MM Hills and Raichur.

Venkat’s team worked on TamRas in collaboration with scientists from the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata and Christian Medical College, Vellore. Field tests were funded by Grand Challenges Canada, an organization funded by the Government of Canada.
The university is working on another product to treat a livestock disease called mastitis. “Preclinical trials are done and its efficacy has been proven. We’re just looking to finalize a particular formula for it to become more effective,” TDU vice-chancellor Balakrishna Pisupati said. One more product in the pipeline deals with prophylactic treatment schedule for malaria, he added.
TDU was formally launched in 2014 with a focus on leveraging traditional medical knowledge. This academic year, the university will offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in life science, conservation, computer science and herbal quality assurance. Funding for the university will be anchored by business tycoon CS Sunder Raju, who will give “hundreds of crores,” Pitroda told ET.
“We want to be an innovative university and do things that no one has done in higher education,” said Pitroda, known as the father of India’s telecom revolution. “The system may not allow this today, but it will tomorrow. It’s just like how the system did not allow us to get connected 30 years back, but now India has a billion phones.”