How Delhi-based hardware startup Flipr aims to Make in India, for the World
The coronavirus pandemic acted as an accelerant for the startup plans of 24-year-old engineers Rohan Agarwal and Vipul Saini.
The duo had, in 2019, conceptualised Delhi-based product startup Faucet Labs to build products, for India and the world. They were in their ideation stage early this year when the lockdown was announced in March 2020.
Realising that the time was right to build products out of India - given the dependence on imports for even basic prevention products like thermometers and sanitiser machines - the company decided to build its own product FLIPR (Faucet Labs Integrated Pandemic Response) to help India fight COVID-19.
“There are not many hardware products that are built from India and shipped to the world. The logistics and procurement challenges due to COVID-19 are huge when it comes to shipping the hardware product," Rohan says.
"We are fortunate to have built a team that knows how to develop hardware products and have the right vendors.”
The five-member team began by launching FLIPR 1.0, an automatic sanitiser dispenser with a one-litre capacity. While installing it at a banquet hall, the duo saw a watchman at the entrance scanning body temperature using a temperature gun and instructing people to sanitise their hands with the machine.
"We wondered why someone did not develop a touchless thermometer as well. We researched online and saw there were various wall-mounted thermometers but hardly any machine that did both - temperature measurement and sanitisation,” Rohan says.
And thus, FLIPR 2.0, which combines both requirements, was born. “It works completely ‘touchlessly’, indoors and outdoors, and has a one-litre capacity,” Rohan says.
The team refused to share the cost of the product, but the founder says it is priced at a reasonable rate.
“Most products we see in the market are at least 2x more expensive; some are even 10x more expensive. Some are not even consumer products; they are mere prototypes sold as products. There is only a fixed cost of hardware. We sell both, direct to consumers through online channels and through distributors in bulk quantities,” Rohan says.
The product is made and manufactured in India; the team has tied up with local manufacturers and vendors for this. It is made of ABS material for protection and durability, and the system is completely waterproof.
The leakage-free machine supports water-based sanitiser liquid and uses timer-based technology to stop dispensing of liquid after a fixed time to ensure zero wastage. An indicator lamp for automatic hand detection makes the operation “touchless”. The automated dispenser with electric adapter can be wall-mounted.
The infrared thermometer allows you to measure body temperature in up to 10 cm range with more than 99.9 percent accuracy.
“Our unique alarm and optical indication-based technology shows exactly when the temperature is above average human temperature. This ensures you never come in contact with a person with high temperature. The machine is fitted with high-quality ultrasonic sensors so that it can be operated indoors and outdoors,” Rohan says.
The team claims to have shipped over 100 machines across India and a few to Australia in a month.
Several startups are helping India to quell the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Ahmedabad-based Limelight has come up with a wearable wristband that can monitor the body temperature of employees. The wristband can also detect their cough and sneeze counts.
Belgaum-based Sensegiz works on a similar model while Bengaluru-based Nimble Vision, which builds IoT products for water measurement and conservation, has now built a mobile-based contactless thermometer to track COVID cases.
Hyderabad-based BlueSemi has developed an IoT-based contactless, wireless thermal scanning device called Neem, which accurately measures an individual’s body temperature and can be integrated into a company’s security software.
Flipr believes the combination of a sanitiser and temperature monitor differentiates it from others.
“Our vision is to build from India, for the world. We intend to develop more Made in India products at the intersection of hardware and software, playing our part to make India self-reliant,” Rohan says.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai