Young TN innovator is baton bearer for Queen’s Baton Relay

Vinisha Umashankar has designed a mobile ironing cart, which uses solar panels to power a steam iron box

Vinisha Umashankar riding her mobile ironing car: It eliminates the need for coal for ironing and brings about a shift towards clean energy. Pic: Courtesy Vinisha Umashankar

Vinisha Umashankar, a student innovator turned environmentalist from Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu, has been selected as a “Changemaker” and Baton Bearer for the ongoing 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay (January12-15, 2022) in India.

The 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay, a Commonwealth Games tradition was flagged off at the Buckingham Palace in London on October 7, 2021. It is scheduled to conclude on July 28, 2022 at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, after traveling 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth for 294 days. The baton finally arrived in India (27th Nation en route) on January 12, 2022 and was here till January 15.

Vinisha Umshankar with the Queen’s Baton. Pic: Twitter

Student Innovator

Vinisha Umashankar received the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards instituted by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, government of India, for designing a mobile ironing cart, which uses solar panels to power a steam iron box.


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Besides conferring the award, NIF had helped her develop a prototype of her invention and get Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection for it. NIF is also working to help improve its technology readiness level (TRL) in partnership with the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE).

A key benefit of the innovation is that it eliminates the need for coal for ironing and bring about a shift towards clean energy. In addition, the `Istriwala’ can now move around more freely and offer services at the doorsteps of the customers and thus increase their daily earnings.

The ironing cart can also be fitted with a coin-operated GSM PCO, USB charging points, and mobile recharging, which can fetch extra income. The device can also be powered by pre-charged batteries, electricity, or diesel-powered generators in the absence of sunlight.