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Home > News > Report

Bulletproof vests from wheat, water-walking shoes and more!

February 13, 2007 16:31 IST

A cycle you can ride on water or a pair of shoes that helps you walk on water? A car that returns 75-80 kpl? A special umbrella that will save you from sunstrokes? A camel-drawn school bus? Or consider this: a bullet proof vest from wheat grains?!

These are just few of the inventions from India's rural inventors, who were honoured by President A P J Abdul Kalam on Tuesday.

The awards were organised by the National Innovation Foundation. The awardees came from all walks of life and from all ages.

Take Dwarka Prasad Chaurasiya, who is now in his mid seventies, but still has not lost his passion for innovation. Chaurasiya, who cycled from Mumbai's Nariman Point to Chaupati, has not come up with floating shoes.

Chaurasiya's water-walking shoes are made of thermocol. The shoes, which provide sufficient buoyancy and maneuverability, are three feet long, 10-inches wide and 8 inches thick. He wants to cross the English Channel wearing one of those.

Young cousins Monaj, 18, and Harimohan Saini, 23, have developed a five-wheeled car, with the hope of making a cheaper vehicle that most middle class Indians would be able to afford.

They built the prototype using scrap materials such as scooter wheels, a moped engine, and a chassis built from available nickel pipes. The four front and rear wheels are fixed and only the fifth wheel in the centre of the car is used in steering.

Monaj and Harimohan estimate that when they fine-tune the design their car will be able to reach speeds as high as 80 km/h and average fuel consumption of 75-80 km/l.

The youngest of the lot, Supriya Chotrey, 13, is currently studying in class 8.

Inspired by the heat wave in Orissa in 2003, Supriya has made an umbrella with a water sprayer, thermometer and a siren attached to the handle of the umbrella. The umbrella has an upper layer of white cloth, below which lies a layer of sponge.

Another layer of black cloth is placed below this layer of sponge and a water sprayer is attached to the handle of the umbrella. When the environmental temperature rises above 35 degree centigrade, the built-in thermometer signals the umbrella to sprinkle water from the attached spraying canister saturating the sponge. This low cost umbrella is useful for travelers, old people, children with low heat tolerance and for those selling goods on the road.

Now to the most astounding invention, the bulletproof vest made out of wheat grains.

Check out Makarand Kale's -- he is from Sangli in Maharashtra -- "herbal" bulletproof jacket.

Kale's hoping defence scientists in Hyderabad who are now evaluating his bulletproof vest will authenticate his claim. The idea, he says, emerged after years of chewing wheat grains.

When wheat is chewed for some time, it results in a tasteless sticky residue.

He realised that by accident that this sticky residue turned solid and hard when dried.

Years of research finally bore fruit when he developed his "bulletproof" material, fabricated from a mixture of grains like wheat, millets, dal and layers of cotton cloth.

He says that in a test conducted, his vest resisted a bullet from a Walther PPK. He is now looking for the defence experts to test it completely and accept it.