The rapid pace of digital transformation and adoption of technology has opened up opportunities for the vibrant startup community in India to develop products and solutions that cater to the local and global markets. A new breed of startups in the space of hardware and system design are accelerating product innovation with solutions that cater to healthcare, retail, transportation and manufacturing segments by using emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Internet of Things (IoT).
India is widely known for its prowess in software technology and a majority of tech accelerators in the country are focused on software or application-based solutions; or at least this was the case. Now things have begun to change, with a realisation that if we want to bring India's vision of becoming the global hub for product innovation to life, it is important to develop startups in the systems and hardware space as well.
Usually, hardware-based product development requires a longer lead time, more capital for product development, deep technology mentoring, and access to potential customers to test products.
Reinforcing its commitment to fuel entrepreneurship and hardware innovation in India, Plugin, a collaborative programme by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, Intel India, and Society for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SINE)-IIT Bombay, has a very unique value proposition for hardware startups looking to fast-track their product development and scale. The unique programme brings together industry, academia and government to support hardware and systems-based startups in the country.
In its second edition, the Plugin programme offered a host of benefits to the incubated startups to help them design their products, scale up and be market-ready. These included access to state-of-the-art labs tools, infrastructure and technical support, business mentoring and coaching by senior technologists from Intel India, financial support, product development and manufacturing connect, and access to global business networks in key countries for innovation like Taiwan and Israel.
The programme not only helped startups fast-track their product development and scale their operations, but also gave them opportunities to leverage local and international connections.
In the second edition, 11 hardware and systems startups, using technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, edge computing and IoT (Internet of Things), are developing products and solutions for healthcare, manufacturing, retail and transportation.
1. Cyclops MedTech
Close to a billion patients suffer from medical disorders like vertigo, migraine, epilepsy, concussion, ADHD and over 20 other conditions. All these conditions show up as measurable manifestations in the eye. Cyclops MedTech is catering to this need by building clinical and wearable diagnostic and rehabilitation products for early and timely detection of neuro-vestibular disorders using eye tracking technology.
2. SensoVision Systems
SensoVision is enabling automation of quality inspection in manufacturing units through its artificial intelligence (AI) solution. Combining AI and computer vision with custom mechanical and optical engineering, the solution helps automate parts inspections ranging from screws to big automobiles. The end-to-end solution QualViz identifies visual and dimensional defects with a 99.99 percent accuracy, while processing 250,000 parts per day.
Constems-AI uses computer vision-based AI to automate business operations processes by eliminating manual interventions and enhancing safety, security, control, and operational efficiencies. The solutions help execute quality control for various agriculture-based products, manage traditional and modern retail operations and reinforce sales and distribution by cutting down reaction time to market.
Using AI and Internet of Things (IoT), Maxerience is helping CPG, FMCG brands and retailers sell more by ensuring product availability on shelves at all times and understanding customer behaviour, while optimising their merchandising practices and distribution channels. Their SVR (Smart Vending Real-Time) solution uses an AI-edge computing smart camera-based solution for real-time vending.
5. Entropik Tech
Entropik Tech’s Affect Lab platform enables brands and agencies to measure the emotions of people and their subconscious responses to marketing stimuli, which in turn helps generate higher ROI on marketing investments. The cloud-based solution uses Electroencephalograms, facial coding, and eye tracking to measure human emotions.
Kaaenaat’s intelligent automotive solutions are aimed at making urban transportation safer and our cities less congested and more livable. Its products leverage computer vision at the edge and analyse video data in real-time without needing them to be streamed to the cloud for analysis and processing.
7. SkinCurate Research
SkinCurate Research Private Limited is developing a smartphone app to assist doctors in fast and accurate diagnosis of skin cancers and related abnormalities. The affordable, scalable, point-of-care, and frugal technological solution for label-free and non-invasive diagnostic imaging is focused on patient comfort-centric total skin theranostics.
8. NOOS Technologies
NOOS Technologies has developed “SCoT”, a solution that helps check counterfeits and track brand visibility. SCoT leverages a patent-pending algorithm to generate a random digital ‘fingerprint’ from a printed artwork that can be verified using a smartphone scanner. Every scan can be tracked centrally while enabling a digital engagement channel to consumers.
Cardiotrack is a disruptive healthcare diagnostics company that is making heart healthcare more accessible and efficient. They significantly reduce the cost of diagnosis through continuous innovation. The Cardiotrack m-Health platform allows primary care physicians to view ECG data captured by the IoT sensors, store patient records for easy retrieval and send the information for secure storage in the cloud.
10. Combat Robotics
Combat Robotics is developing the world’s first chassis-less Unmanned Ground Vehicle, Arista Mark 1, which is meant to function in high endurance and rugged conditions. The startup is looking to enhance the capability of the robot to be remotely accessed from a distance of 500 metres, to mount a night vision camera and stream the video content to the base location.
Cyrrup’s solution helps reduce the number of road accidents with a focus on solving rash driving issues, providing assistance during accidents, and ensuring safety and security of the vehicle as well as its occupants. Vehicle Black Box is a vehicle tracking system that is fitted on the dashboard for monitoring the performance of the vehicle and driver behaviour.