A repairman from Gujarat has successfully designed 'an AC sofa' which can be used even at outdoor events and consumes less electricity than the tower air-conditioners.
Gandhinagar resident Dashrath Patel, who repairs ACs, came up with the idea some years ago. He was helped by the National Institute of Design in developing the product.
"I first thought of installing air-conditioner in a sofa in 2008 and started working on it. But the first sofa I made weighed around 175 kg, which was way too heavy," Patel said.
"Then I heard of 'Design Clinic Scheme' of MSME ministry and I approached them. They provided me a designer who modified the design and changed the material, reducing the weight to 35 kgs," Patel said.
The design clinic scheme of the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises is being run in collaboration with NID since 2010, said Kumarpal Parmar, project executive at the institute.
It was Ankit Vyas, an NID alumnus, who helped Patel make his innovation lighter and affordable.
Patel said he will launch the sofa in the market with a price tag of Rs 1-1.25 lakh.
Vyas, who runs a design studio here, said, "It works like a split AC with a unit inside the sofa linked by pipe to an outer unit. The air-flow will come out from the hand-rest part of the sofa."
"It will simply work like a house AC. You can increase or decrease the temperature with a remote control, and it can also run on fan-mode," Vyas added.
"The earlier model was of wood. All parts, including the hose pipe of the AC were wooden which made it heavy. I replaced wood with glass fibre. For pipe I used PVC," Vyas said.
Asked whether it will be affordable for common people, Vyas said the product was rather targeted at businesses such as event management and hotels.
"It will be used by event management firms or the terrace restaurants," Vyas said.
"At political or religious gatherings, tower ACs are used which consume a lot of electricity. AC sofas consume 10 per cent less power," Vyas said, adding, even for hotels installing AC sofas would make more sense than using tower ACs.
According to Parmar, under the MSME's scheme 60 per cent of the expenses of designing are borne by the ministry and it gives the balance to the product innovator in the form of a grant.