BID Fest 2021: Problem Statements

 Problem Statements BID 2021

1. Medical Diagnostics -: In India problems related to the knee are increasing at a high pace.  In most of the elderly people, knee replacement is not recommended and one has to manage the pain for their entire life. It is desired that a biomedical arrangement be designed for knee support, without causing any hindrance in the movement.


A muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited diseases that damage and cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass over time. This damage is due to a lack of dystrophin, which is necessary for normal muscle function. In muscular dystrophies, abnormal genes or mutations lead to muscle degeneration, and it is one of the most serious issues in the present and children are severely affected by this disorder. This disorder is associated with severe symptoms and can be life-threatening at the same time. Design a bio-inspired possible solution for such patients so that they can independently lead a better life, and at the same time, their lifespan is also increased.

2. The most common treatment for renal failure advised to patients is hemodialysis ie. a treatment that filters and purifies the blood using a machine. This helps keep your fluids and electrolytes in balance when the kidneys can't do their job. Modern-day dialysis machines cause several problems to patients like low blood pressure (hypotension), high blood pressure (hypertension), muscle cramps, anaemia, bone disease, fluid overload and it requires hectic personal assistance till the time of dialysis. Come up with a new device or design which treats the major biological and technical problems associated with the older one.


3. Death by Drowning-: As per the National Crime Records Bureau-Accidental Deaths (2012), eighty persons die of drowning each day in India, which accounts for 7.4% of all unnatural deaths. In 2013, there were 29,456 deaths by drowning. In 2018, drowning accounted for 14.3% of all unnatural deaths. Suffocation or inability to breathe underwater is the major cause of death. Even scuba divers face a lot of technical issues with the pre-existing diving kit. Design a more efficient diving suit or underwater breathing system or device to save lives from drowning by taking inspiration from nature. 

4. Military Weapons-:Tanks are an important and decisive component of any Army Fleet. The majority of India’s indigenously developed third-generation Arjun main battle tanks have been grounded due to technical issues and due to an inadequate design concept (e.g., too much heavy armour versus too little horsepower). Being inspired by nature, come up with a better and more efficient new age tank design.

5. Agricultural issues-:The use of pesticides, steroids and fertilizers in vegetables and fruits has tremendously increased. It is known that chemicals that are banned in other countries and also by the Indian Government are heavily used without the knowledge of the authorities and the consumers. These harmful chemicals enter the human body and have been found to have serious effects giving rise to deadly diseases such as cancer. Innocent consumers are unaware that their health has deteriorated due to their inability to notice the presence of harmful chemicals in the food items. Come up with a device that would identify and measure the amount of the most common harmful chemicals present on the skin and inside of vegetables and fruits. 

6. Covid 19-:During pandemic times, we all are suffering from several mental health-related issues and loneliness. In order to cope with this, children are getting highly addicted to their phones and other appliances which are causing a lack of sleep and sleep disorders. Keeping account of the Circadian rhythm of the human body, come up with a solution that reduces the screen time and provides effective sleep to the user.

7. Medical Diagnostics -: India is a country prone to various cardiovascular diseases like myocardial infarctions, coronary artery disorders etc-:. These diseases often arise with little or no notice at all and the need for instantaneous first aid along with immediate diagnosis is a great need as of today. Suggest a bio-inspired design-based solution to this issue. 

8. Covid-19-: The recent Covid-19 pandemic has led to a rapid boom in the manufacture and the potential use of hand sanitisers. Sanitisers are chemical substances that are mainly composed of ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxides in different combinations as these chemical compounds are known to exhibit fast, effective and broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. These chemicals are also known as VOCs- volatile organic compounds that upon evaporation cause detrimental effects to the surrounding environment. Devise a plausible solution to this problem.


9. Covid-19-: The novel coronavirus as we all know has sent the entire world into a state of dormancy. Social distancing is a major concern as these viruses are known to spread through means of contact. One of the major issues faced by the market because of this pandemic is the lack of PPE- personal protective equipment ie-: gloves, face masks and face shields. The major drawback faced by the manufacturers is the lack of raw materials to generate PPE as these are carefully woven plastics in specialized machinery. Suggest an alternative inspired by nature that has household materials as a possible raw material taking the cost factor into account as well.

10. Prevalent neurodegenerative disorders in India include stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson's etc-:. Parkinsons is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is caused due to the decreasing levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the part of the brain also called substantia nigra. Using biomimicry came up with a drug delivery model or a (mechanical model) that induces sufficient dopamine levels to this part of the brain to combat this disease.  

11. Biomedical sector-: Bone grafting is an evolving field in the biomedical sector. Currently, there are three types of bone grafts available in the market namely-: artificial bone, bone obtained from self and finally bone obtained from a donor. In the case of the artificial bone grafting technique, which uses coral as the main component which despite its high biocompatibility, has no physical characteristics, in turn making the hardness factor quite low. Suggest a plausible biomimetic design (possibly software-based) to address this issue. 

12. Biomedical tests that are conducted nowadays are considered to be time consuming and laborious. Clinicians are looking for an integrated system that carries out all the tests at a much quicker pace without having to shuffle the samples between various equipment and subjecting them to the action of various chemicals. The concept of microfluidic chips nowadays is very costly. How can biomimicry aid in the development of an integrated testing kit that is cost-effective and also focuses on the analogy of “point of care”?

13. Battling road fatalities-: India harbours states that are highly susceptible to excessive air pollution which results in smog. Statistics reveal that each year, over 38,700 vehicle crashes occur in fog. Over 600 people are killed and more than 16,300 people are injured in these crashes annually. So, we come to a conclusion that low visibility conditions cause increased speed variance, which increases crash risk multi-fold. Suggest a biomimetic approach to combat this fatal issue that also focuses on collision avoidance systems as well.

14. Environment-: “Green buildings”-its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life. Constructing a green building relies on different factors like energy conservation, judicious use of water and other resources, and taking into account the changing environment, ie-: adaptability. Suggest a good model for a green building using biomimetic approaches. 

15. Covid-19-: As the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the globe and dramatically alters society, governments and corporations are turning to novel uses of biometric technologies to limit contagion and maintain economic opportunities. Suggest a bioinspired device with integrated AI that can be used in the gates of metros which checks the temperature and mask and then only allows you to enter.

16. Pollution due to plastics-:Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products overwhelms the world’s ability to deal with them. Plastic pollution is most visible in developing Asian and African nations, where garbage collection systems are often inefficient or nonexistent, mostly dealing with Plastic bags and PET Bottles. But the developed world, especially in countries with low recycling rates, also has trouble properly collecting discarded plastics. To suggest a method to degrade plastic inspired by insects like caterpillars so that it does not cause any further harm. 

17. Food sector problems: Efficient utilization of agricultural waste decreases environmental problems caused by irresponsible disposal of the waste. The conversion of waste obtained from agricultural processes into biocompatible materials (biomaterials) used in medical surgery is a strategy that will add more value to waste utilization.  Design a novel process that helps to utilize the nutrients present in the kitchen or the household waste and decreasing its accumulation. 

18. COVID-19: Healthcare workers stay for long hours in the PPE suits. This gives them rashes, makes breathing and exhausts them completely. Eating, drinking or even urinating is out of the question during duty hours that can last from 6 to 8 hours and may even stretch to 12 hours in states like Maharashtra which has a significant number of cases. Come up with solutions that can enable a hydrant cooling system inside the PPE kits/mask/face shields etc.


One of the major reasons for the continued spread of COVID even after a year is the non-compliance of the public in wearing masks. The most cited complaints regarding this are the discomfort faced due to feelings of suffocation, nausea, breathlessness, excessive sweating and most importantly mist collection for the users with spectacles. Design a mask using materials inspired by nature that can address these problems. 

19. Environmental problems: Countries like Eritrea, Papua New Guinea and Uganda lack basic water services which lead to poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy and many other problems. Carrying buckets of dirty water for hours prevents moms from earning money and kids from attending school. They don’t have the water they need to irrigate crops or water livestock. And at the end of the day, it’s hard to rest knowing the next day will be the same. Showcase some novel technologies and methods of Water Collection and Management which can help countries like these to overcome the water shortage and come out of their problems. 

20. Environmental problems: There were approximately 31 million square miles (50 million square km) of forest around the world. Today, that number has shrunk to less than 25 million square miles (40 million square km). This decline is due to expanding agricultural land use and increasing demand for wood and paper products and increasing human population. Apart from environmental problems this decline will also have a number of problems for the human race. Come up with viable solutions inspired by Permaculture that can solve this issue.

21. Even with several advancements in the medical field, identifying the boundaries between tumours and normal tissue in sensitive regions such as the brain and heart continues to be a challenge for surgeons. Devise a bio-inspired optical imaging system also known as surgery guides, which can aid in highlighting the tumour margins.

22. Insulin contained in vials and cartridges (injections) can be left unrefrigerated at temperatures between 15 C to 30 C for up to 28 days. The major problem faced by healthcare professionals is the portability and storage of insulin. India is a tropical country with temperatures rising up to 50 C in summer. Refrigeration is not always possible, especially in rural areas or while travelling. The current cooler bags used while travelling can only be used for up to 4 days and require activation every 36 hours. Design a casing or a chemical/biological additive to maintain the ambient temperature for insulin storage at room temperature using bio-inspired materials.            


Vaccine Storage and transportation is some of the biggest challenges in this industry. Cooling and refrigeration systems are most commonly in use but their electrically powered nature poses a hindrance to situations involving power shortages, drips, instability in current etc. Come up with a bio-inspired design solution to combat this problem.

23. The extremely recent Suez Canal crisis brought to light one of the biggest issues in container shipping. The shipping industry is one of the major contributors to CO2 emissions and is said to emit one billion tons of climate-heating greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has put forward several initiatives and set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions to 50% of the current levels by 2050. But the challenges faced by the organization are: lack of support and renewable sources being much more costly due to the long distances involved. Formulate a solution inspired by nature to counter this problem. 

24. People in India, especially in villages, dump face masks, gloves and face shields in open areas which can be hazardous to the people living in that area, and the virus can spread rapidly. Apart from that improper disposal of blood samples, syringes and other biomedical waste from the COVID wards of many hospitals, medical centres and labs may also lead to infections, and can also possess a major threat to the people living in nearby places. Come up with an idea and innovate something new, such that the dumping of these hazardous substances can be controlled.

25. Medical diagnostics-:Many elderly and morbid patients silently die because of untimely health access. The unavailability of caretakers and regular check-ups leads to many unwanted and preventable deaths.  Design a possible integrated device that is a gadget based inspired by biomimicry that has not been discovered before, which can be used by patients who have frequent health issues such as high blood pressure and increased blood sugar,  so that untimely and preventable deaths can be eradicated and home management of these patients can be made much easier.

26. Oxygen tanks are one of the most employed objects of utility in the medical sector. It has gained immense momentum and significance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was an acute shortage of oxygen tanks during this phase which posed a major hindrance to mitigate symptoms of people in the critical stage of the illness, requiring ventilators. Devise a bio-inspired solution that could use natural environmental air which can counter the problem of shortage of oxygen tanks. 

27. Chronic lung diseases are the third leading cause of death worldwide with an EU cost of more than €380 billion annually. For many chronic diseases, there is no cure and the only end-stage option for patients is lung transplantation. However, there are not enough donor lungs to meet clinical demand. Come up with an alternative which will indeed reduce this problem. 

Sarbajit Ray on behalf of SBE-VIT

Author & Editor

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