“The Ventilator Project”, a book that tells the story of how a world-class ventilator was designed and built at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, was released on Tuesday.
According to IIT officials, the book is a gripping testament to the sheer will and collaborative efforts of two brilliant Indians, who came together to build a world-class ventilator in just 90 days when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country.
The duo — Nikhil Kurele and Harshit Rathore — had founded Nocca Robotics, an IIT Kanpur-incubated company to manufacture autonomous waterless solar panel-cleaning robots. When the pandemic struck and patients were dying due to a shortage of ventilators, they designed, developed and manufactured a scalable world-class ventilator in just three months.
“Nikhil Kurele and Harshit Rathore had never seen a ventilator, let alone building one. But they did not let this stop them. With movement restricted due to the lockdown, the access to healthcare infrastructure was also limited. The global economy was crippling under the burden of the pandemic.
“The clock was ticking and hundreds of lives were at stake. Despite the odds, the duo met over daily Zoom calls and exchanged WhatsApp messages to overcome the lockdown restrictions and work on the ventilator. Their story is now captured in the thrilling pages of the book, ‘The Ventilator Project – How the IIT Kanpur Consortium Built a World-class Product during India’s Covid-19 Lockdown’ by authors Srikant Sastri and Amitabha Bandyopadhyay,” a senior IIT official said.
Terming it an “unseen case study of an aatmanirbhar Bharat’ , Koppillil Radhakrishnan, former chairman of the ISRO, said, “With regards to health security, 80 per cent of medical equipment is imported in India. IIT Kanpur has successfully managed to develop a reliable, safe and good quality indigenous product that helped save lives, equally trusted by both academicians and health practitioners. The Ventilator Project is not only a case study for entrepreneurs or the startup ecosystem of India, but also for our premier educational institutions and the critical role they will have to play in the aatmanirbhar movement whilst strengthening our economy.”
The duo collaborated with and called upon 20 industry veterans with unmatched experience from the domains of academia, policy-making, medicine, and manufacturing. Driven by their extraordinary zeal and technical brilliance, the two young enterprising and innovative minds worked with these industry veterans to achieve their goal of ventilator designed, developed and built in India that is comparable to the best in the world.
Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur, who penned the foreword for the book, said, “It was a moment of pride for us when, in the middle of a national lockdown, the two young innovators told us that they wanted to develop a complex equipment that is otherwise imported. We knew this was a project that deserved all possible support. The Ventilator Project is one such example that puts IIT Kanpur and India on the map of global innovation in both manufacturing and business.”