Immense research and people with reputed qualifications may be behind some of the most touted innovations in today’s world such as electric vehicles, motion sensors, automated machines. But for 55-year-old Prabhakar Alladi, all it has taken is a problem requiring a solution.
From a multipurpose bed, a bore well pulling machine to a self-charging
electric vehicle, this electrician hailing from Chittapur in Karimnagar district of Telangana, has over 20 innovations to his credit till date. And his educational qualification? 10th pass.
It all started in 1984 when Prabhakar moved from Chittapur to Metpally town in Jagtial district. He set up an electrical shop there and was also working at a movie theatre. He was in charge of turning on the generator when there was a power interruption and turning it off once the power came back.
“Back then, there had to be one person appointed just to turn the generator on and off, as there were regular power cuts. And you’d never know when the power could go, hence the person appointed couldn’t even move from there even for a minute,” Prabhakar recalls.
To solve this problem, he built an ‘Automatic Generator Starter’ in 1986, which would automatically switch on when the power went off and turn off once electricity was back. How this works is, when power supply fails, the AGS automatically connects the load to the generator power supply, thus preventing interruption of power.
Prabhakar says that the theatre and a few other hospitals, theatres in his district use these automatic generators till date. He also patented this technology in 1988.
And thus began Prabhakar’s journey as a grass-root innovator. “Each innovation has come out of someone struggling, something being too expensive or involving more hard work than required,” he says.
With a few innovations in hand, and several in the pipeline, he established Prabhat industries in 1990.
His next few innovations included an automatic door designed in 1989, a fertiliser applicator and an inverter in 1993, an agriculture timer starter in 1999. He also invented a safeguard focus light and horn equipment, which could be used to alert neighbourhoods about theft with a horn, whose sound could be heard up to 500 metres and a light that could be seen up to a distance of 200 metres.
Currently, he markets and sells 12 of his notable innovations across the country. One of his most coveted innovations is a multipurpose bed that he created in 2016. This bed comes with an attached commode, flush, hand shower, wash basin, food tray and has a pipe that can be connected to the drain. This is for bedridden patients.
“India has a lot of patients but not enough beds and facilities. And most often, the families find it very hard to take care of them. So I wanted to create a solution for that and came up with the multipurpose bed. A patient doesn’t have to move from the bed for anything,” Prabhakar says.
The bed is made of fibre, is rust-free and costs Rs 20,000. Prabhat has sold around 150 of them so far, mostly to families with sick or bedridden patients.
His more recent innovations that he currently sells also include a Jumbo air cooler, which Prabhat claims, can give cooling on all sides and can rotate 90,180, 270 or 360 degrees. It is portable and can be used in function halls and open areas.
He also created an electrical pole clip, which can facilitate climbing of poles. This, Prabhakar says, is useful for cable operators, electric contractors and the likes, who often have to climb poles and work on them. With a good grip, he claims that one can stand on a pole for hours and the product has been tested to handle weights of up to 200kg. This pole clip costs Rs 1,500 and is available on Amazon as well. Prabhakar has so far sold around 2,000 of them across states.
He also created an automatic dipper. This solves the problem of not being able to see when a vehicle approaching you comes with high beam. This automatic dipper has light sensors, which automatically shift to low beam when high-beam light falls on them. Four to five seconds later, they switch back to high beam.
Till date, Prabhakar has received no formal education and has only been learning by practice and on the job. “I can use my practical knowledge and make things, but I have no theoretical knowledge. But now with my son having finished his education, he has begun helping me and supporting me for all theory-related problems,” Prabhakar says.
His son Pranay Kumar Alladi, has done his M.Tech from VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, and is now supporting his father by taking care of marketing as well.
Also, at a time when the government has come out with its e-vehicle policy and wants all vehicles running on the road to be electric by 2030, Prabhakar has come up with an innovation to solve the main pain point of electric vehicles – charging infrastructure. He has built a self-charging electric vehicle, which has a small turbine fitted on it. As the vehicle runs, the run runs, generating power to run the vehicle. This way, Prabhakar says, the vehicle will never run out of charge. They have recently run a pilot and Prabhakar says that with more funds, he can develop the same technology at a more sophisticated and scalable level.
And that is where Prabhakar has hit a roadblock. With one workshop and 10 workers in Metpally, he has about 40 more ideas in mind that he says can solve pain points of the poor and middle-class. But he lacks enough funds to make them all happen. He is now reaching out to the government and other organisations for support to be able to market his products.
“He can do a lot more. His existing innovations can be spread across geographically and people need them. Every innovation of his, solves a pain in the society. But he needs helps to proliferate the market,” says Brigadier (Retd) P Ganesham, who runs Palle Srujan', a volunteer organisation that works to identify, aid and promote creativity at the grassroots-level in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
“His innovations use local recourses to address local problems with local solutions. He is the real Make in India. He now needs investment, working capital and marketing support,” Ganesham adds.