Prof. Naresh Bhatnagar

Prof. Naresh Bhatnagar of Mechanical Engineering Department has been felicitated with the 7th National Award for Technology Innovation under the category of "Polymers in Public Health Care" of Petrochemicals and Downstream Plastic Processing Industry(2016-17), constituted by the Government of India, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. He shares the prize with his PhD student Dr K K Gaur, currently serving as a Scientist E in Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO)Hq, Delhi.

The award was given by Mr Ananth Kumar, Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India and Mr Mansukh L Mandaviya, Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Govt. of India on March 1, 2017 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It carries a scroll, plaque and a cash award.

The microcellular injection molded thermoplastic hip protection device named Tro-Guard is conceptualized, designed and developed at IITD. Field trials of the device have been done at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi and thereby validated to prevent the fracture of hip joint. The project was sponsored by Department of Science & Technology (DST) under its “Technology Intervention for the Elderly” TIE program.

The device works by dampening the impact or shock of a fall, through its evolved geometrical structure by spreading the impact energy to the sides, thereby protecting the protruding edge of the ‘greater trochanter’ a jutting-out structure of the femur bone, which on a sudden fall can lead to the fracture of the neck of the femur.

The fractures of a femur bone or hip joint are an important public-health problem and a major source of mortality and morbidity among the elders. The incidence of fractures of the hip due to fall increases exponentially with age. Consequently , nearly one of the three women and one of the six men could sustain a fracture of the hip due to fall by reaching the age of ninety years. Thus prevention of hip fractures can significantly contribute to the reduction of health care costs which are currently of primary concern of Government and insurance companies with increase of aging or old-old population.

Fall related hip fractures occur when an individual, typically with insufficient soft tissue cannot absorb the shock and fails to generate an appropriate protection response and impacts the ground or other hard surface at or near the hip ‘greater trochanter’ with a force that exceeds the fracture threshold of the proximal femur. Individuals at risk of fracturing a hip include those who are old, frail, suffering from Osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer disease, tendency of frequent fear of falling and those having sedentary lifestyle and unbalance in walking. Women are more prone to fracture hip joint due to reduced bone density above the age of 70 years.

Tro-Guard consists of a wearable underpants, having two thermoplastic pads. The pads are placed appropriately at the ‘greater trochanter’, in two pockets sewn in the designer underpants for different sizes of male and female. These pads can be easily removed from the pockets for garment washing.

Microcellular injection molding process has been adopted for the first time globally for the design and manufacture of thermoplastic hip protection device for providing light weight and improved impact resistance. The process involves use of super critical fluid as a foaming agent in a polymer, producing a consistent and uniform microcellular structure in the core of a solid polymer.

This product will make senior citizens feel more secure and less afraid of falling. This may be important for maintaining healthy bones and reducing the burden of bedridden old patients. The patented technology is transferred to the industry by IITD and the product is available online at Amazon.