Hoping to entice young residents to work outside, authorities in southern India announced a contest worth more than $20,000 to the winning designer of an air-conditioning jacket.
Authorities in the southern state of Kerala challenged individuals and research groups to come up with a viable prototype. A committee will select 10 options, and each inventor will get about $2,200 to develop their concepts. The winner gets $22,000, which is 1 million rupees.
Incidentally, the jackets are unlikely to help workers living in Kerala itself — the state has pretty mild weather, and tourists flock to its tropical beaches. But millions of Kerala residents work elsewhere in India or overseas, often in extreme heat. Summer temperatures can surpass 120 degrees in parts of India and the Persian Gulf, and heat-related deaths are reported every year. Keralites often work in construction in booming Arab nations.
The cool jacket could be a boon for construction and agricultural workers, according to state officials. They say it will also enhance efficiency and productivity, according to the website Indian Express.
The communist-ruled state announced a separate contest last year to entice inventors to build a better coconut picker, but none of the designs has been successful.
Plenty of cooling jackets and vests are already available; American and Australian troops use a cooling vest that involves a special gel like the kind used in freezer pacs, for instance. Some would-be Indian innovators may want to check out this Instructable for inspiration.