Students create tech to end corruption, improve mental health  

Ishlok Vashistha, a final year engineering student lost one of his closest friends in a drowning accident three years ago.

Published: 24th October 2018 10:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th October 2018 07:30 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU : Ishlok Vashistha, a final year engineering student lost one of his closest friends in a drowning accident three years ago. Though he jumped in, he was unable to save him. In the following months, he remained disturbed and developed hydrophobia (fear of water).Speaking to CE at the Accenture Innovation Challenge – 2018 finale, Ishlok said, “Psychiatrists suggested I expose myself to water bodies but I was not able to do it. I felt I would drown if I got inside any pool, especially where the accident happened.” 

“I wanted to build a technology which is virtual and in a controlled environment, to help people get over other phobias and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders,” he adds. He and three of his friends Aakash Bhadana, Dipesh Narwat and Himanshu created Virtual Exposure Therapy, and were one of the 16 teams shortlisted. It includes a virtual reality headset which recreates traumatic situations and a smart watch which monitors vitals of the patient.

Aakash said, “For example, a person who fears the dark, would find themselves in a poorly-lit room. There are different levels to it. The first level would require the participant to navigate himself in a virtual dark room and close to the windows (by clicking on a sensor), followed by the level where he needs to find a flashlight and so on.” The watch monitors panic attacks, anxiety and how the users feels while doing the tasks. It keeps a check on their heart beat, skin temperature and other vitals.

The fact that the environment is not real and the user can exit any time, makes it easier than real exposure therapy used by doctors, the team members explained.

Blockchain to stop corruption
Of the 13,000 entries this year, students Siddhesh Rane, Pranamya Jain, Siddhesh Gangan and Yash Jain were shortlisted for creating a blockchain based technology, to make the tender process more transparent. Tired of reading about the several scams taking place in the country, they decided to use their tech skills to invent ‘Tender 2.0’. Pranamya says, “We created a system that captures all steps on the blockchain in the form of contracts – right from evaluation of bids, assigning the tender to allocation of funds.

It will penalise anyone who tries to commit fraud by cancelling their stake in the whole process. A government official will not be able to change criteria to favour any bidder.”  Once the tender is put on a block chain, it cannot be altered with, claimed Rane. “All scams take place because tender criteria are changed to benefit a certain bidder. That cannot happen here. The officials will not be able to see who has bid for a particular road project, until the opening date,” he said.

They also have an algorithm in place which takes into account and filters out bidders based on their past success rate, completion rate, bid amount and quality of work. “A single road development project is divided into milestones. For example, a 12 km road will be divided into three km each. The contractor will have to upload proof, as and when they finish that section.

It is only then, transfer of the funds can take place to the contractor. Anyone including citizens can verify the tenders and raise a complaint if they find something fishy,” said Siddhesh. This can also prevent delay in payment and protect the identity of anyone who tries to expose fraud. “No one person can corrupt the records because a copy of the contracts are distributed across multiple computers on the network,” he said.


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