Bengaluru girl invents portable battery that resembles power bank, wins accolade from Oxford University
This B’ luru girl has received the Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award at the University of Oxford, for inventing a solar chargeable lithium ion portable battery useful for pushcart vendors
BENGALURU: Bengaluru-girl Prerna Wadikar recently won the Vice Chancellor’s Social Impact Award at the University of Oxford, UK. She received the award for inventing a device that resembles a power bank, which is a lithium ion portable battery.
Conceptualised in 2010 by the former vice-chancellor of Oxford, Prof. Andrew Hamilton, the award is presented every year to the University’s students for their exceptional work and commitment towards positive social change.
Wadikar was awarded for starting ‘Jeeva Global’ meant for supporting immigrant communities in Oxfordshire, and a decade-long demonstration of social development through personal and professional initiatives.“Jeeva, which is the brand name has the ability to power the underserved, globally. I envision a world where energy is universally available, accessible, and affordable,” says Wadikar, who did her Master’s in Public Policy from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bengaluru.
Further, she says, “The device can be fast-charged in just one hour compared to five hours for other batteries and it can run up to three devices, simultaneously. This can be used in any place that needs energy access and use of multiple electric devices.”
Some of the many uses of the device are – powering refrigeration of vaccinations at primary health centres, lights and small table fans, and electrification of residences in tribal and remote areas. The USP of the product is, it can be completely independent of the electric grid through its capability to charge through solar panels.During her childhood days, Wadikar’s mother Neena Wadikar inculcated in her the idea of how science can be used for the upliftment of the society, and in the process encouraged her to pursue computer engineering.
Further, she tells this correspondent that Prof. Anil Gupta from IIM Ahmedabad has been instrumental in making her recognise and appreciate the latent talent of India.
“During the first phase of the lockdown, pushcart vendors were severely affected. This inspired the business model to supplement their income through additional revenue sources,” says Wadikar, who has multisectoral work experience of 10 years. The pilot deployments of the device were made in Bengaluru and the feedback from pushcart vendors has been incorporated.
The product should be available commercially after the development of a dedicated production line at Livaah Innovations, a Bengaluru-based electronic system design and manufacturing company.Wadikar says that her primary objective for innovating the product, was to make energy both accessible and affordable to the end-users.
“We are confident that when the product is manufactured at scale, this will be one of the lowest-priced solar chargeable products in its category, internationally. To make it accessible to all, we need the support of both corporate and government sectors,” she adds.