Project Chetna: Empowering safety and well-being for people with memory loss, dementia, autism, and medical emergencies, one QR code at a time.
Akshay Ridlan, a Mumbai-based data engineer and a dog lover who developed a collar with a QR code to keep track of pet canines, is in the news again. This time, it is for a new initiative called Project Chetna.
Ridlan has come up with unique QR code-enabled pendants and bracelets that have the potential to be lifelines for neurodivergent children (like those with autism) and elderly citizens struggling with dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.
This innovation can serve as a powerful tool for their safe return in case they get lost and can’t remember their way home.
Speaking to South First, the 24-year-old says that he is now on a mission to build a “Surakshit Bharat” (Safe India). He is now looking to foster partnerships and collaborations with various state governments, Union Health and Home ministries, esteemed institutions like NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences), and NGOs, to ensure widespread access to his unique QR code-enabled pendants.
“With my product, I am sure that I can provide safety for young children and senior citizens. I have been appreciated for the QR code pendant, which, when scanned, will provide basic details of the person wearing it. Their name, address, emergency contact number, and blood group will be displayed,” Ridlan explains.
He adds, “Now, I want to collaborate with all states and institutions, like NIMHANS, and NGOs that work with the elderly, children with autism, Down’s syndrome, etc, so that it can benefit larger sections of society.”
Giving us the backstory of Project Chetna, Ridlan narrates the incident of how his professor would often forget things easily and that, one day, left him wondering what could be done to help her.
Around the same time, he read an article in the newspaper about a 17-year-old autistic boy with Down’s syndrome who had gone missing from Mumbai’s CST station after an RPF officer boarded him on the wrong train. Sadly, it’s been two years and the boy is still missing.
“After reading this, it suddenly struck me that my concept of QR tags for dogs can be applied to humans too. I decided to come out with pendants and bracelets that can be worn by people to help others track them if they go missing,” explains Ridlan.
This pendant can be worn by children — even neurotypical ones who are young and can’t tell the direction home — elderly people with dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.
“Many times, elderly people with mental health conditions end up on the streets as they are unable to find their way home. With the support of this QR code pendant, they can be traced easily and rescued,” he says.
These compact, scannable codes — affixed to personal possessions — will serve as a valuable source of information. By scanning the QR code using a smartphone or a dedicated device, one can swiftly retrieve essential information about the person, including contact details.
If the person is disoriented or in a road accident, with no mobile phone or any other identification on them, this QR tag can become a vital resource as it offers critical particulars like medical status, emergency contacts, and even their residential address.
The initiative is underscored by a straightforward initiation process — scanning the QR code, inputting the necessary information, and having the individual wear/carry the pendant.
The pendants are designed to be robust, ensuring longevity and resilience, even in adverse weather conditions.
Anyone who’s interested in this can visit projectchetna.in, where one can register for the QR code pendant/bracelet.
Here’s how to create the QR tags:
Step 1: Click on register to Create QR pendant/bracelet.
Step 2: Fill in all the details carefully.
Step 3: Get the soft copy of QR pendant to your registered email ID.
Step 4: Tie this QR pendant/bracelet to your beloved elders or specially-abled children.
While the QR tags are being sent for free at the moment, Ridlan says that it costs him ₹250 per QR tag. He is now expecting to collaborate with state governments and NGOs as it would not only spread the word, but also help him in sustaining this initiative.
“I have already given 100 QR tags for free. Now, I am running out of resources and need some support. I want to continue distributing these for free. I want my motto of ‘Surakshit Bharat’ to reach across the nation. I will also be writing to the Union Health and Home ministries to collaborate with me on this initiative,” says Ridlan.
He adds that the potential collaboration with state governments and renowned institutions, like NIMHANS, would open up the possibilities for widespread and impactful deployment of this innovative technology, ultimately contributing to the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals in our society.