NID Ahmedabad Student Bags Indian National James Dyson Award

Fleo is a stabilizing pen designed to help in writing and drawing for people with Parkinson’s tremors, invented by Ashwathy Satheesan from National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad) adjudicated as National Winner from India.

Ashwathy Satheesan

Ashwathy Satheesan from National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad) - NID - bags this year’s Indian national James Dyson Award with her invention 'Fleo'. Fleo is a stabilizing pen that is designed to help people with Parkinson’s tremors write and draw efficiently. With innovative self-stabilizing components which reduces the impact of tremor; Fleo facilitates more confident and efficient writing so people with Parkinson’s disease too can follow their passion and gain back their confidence.

Fleo utilizes gyroscopic principles to stabilize and reduce tremor impacts, facilitating a more confident and efficient writing/drawing. The construction of the pen contains a copper ring rotor attached to a motor with a battery. Once it’s on, it acts as a gyroscope and tries to remain in its original axis of rotation.

When the pen is switched on, the gyroscopic effect of the rotor provides resistance to any undesirable vibration of the pen. Thus it helps maintain control without taking away the personality and individuality of a person’s writing/drawing. It is wireless, handy and with an easy click, it starts its stabilizing effect. It’s rechargeable and refillable which increases convenience. The switch and the LED is placed keeping easy access in mind. The form of the pen is designed to offer good ergonomic support and a confident grip.

The 22-year-old national winner graduated this year from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, in Bachelors in Product Design. On her participation, Satheesan hailed the James Dyson Award as a prestigious international platform for young designers to showcase and validate their work. Winning the national leg of the James Dyson Award will inject £2,000 into the Fleo project, and Satheesan has her plans ready already. 

Satheesan said“In the past, this platform has helped to bring many meaningful student ideas to life. I feel this provides great support and confidence that is much needed for an early professional starting off their career,” said.

“The next step for Fleo will be to meet possible collaborators and facilitators. I hope the exposure from this platform will significantly help in this. I believe that with the help of experts, better and efficient results can be achieved. There is a lot of opportunity for improvement in Fleo’s design like manufacturing, material use, affordability, and overall sustainability. This amount can definitely help to kick start this process,” she added.

On successfully developing Fleo, Satheesan expresses that as a designer, the communication and feedback she received from the potential users was very significant during the design process that led towards the desired viable solutions. The most challenging part was making the gyroscope rotor of varying sizes by hand in-house to test the results.

Project Fleo, from research to final prototyping and user testing, was completed in 8 weeks at National Institute of Design. During this period, more than 10 mock-ups and prototypes were made. Initial rapid mock-ups helped to set a direction while later ones were focused on finding the right engineering principle to apply that will solve the problem. This stage was crucial for proving the concept and to get optimum results. All these prototypes were made at National Institute of Design, using the workshop facility and machinery. 

While Satheesan has received numerous accolades during her graduation, the James Dyson Award 2019 is the first time she has been recognised for ‘Fleo’. Fleo has a ‘Certificate of Registration of Design’ under The Patent Office, Govt. of India done through IPR cell at NID.

On what drives her to invent solutions like the Fleo, Satheesan said, ‘‘I aspire to work towards making less and delivering more. I believe that there is a great potential in classroom projects like Fleo to move from a student’s portfolio into viable solutions. There is a lot of improvements to do but there is great learning experiences awaiting this."

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