While the rest of the world has far progressed from this aged way of manufacturing textiles, many weaving communities in India continue to use the punch card-based Jacquard Machine to design silk sarees, where every single card is manually created and controlled by the weavers.
Not only is the process quite time consuming—taking easily between 15 days to a month for every single design, what makes the painstaking efforts of the weavers quite short-lived is the life of these cards that last only up to two-three years.
All the efforts and hardships that the weavers face greatly affected Sivakumar Modha, a native of Hindupur town in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh.
Sivakumar spent the next 14 years researching and developing an electronic Jacquard Machine that would replace the conventional punch-card mechanism to an image-based system incorporated to the loom through a pen drive. Even though it is still a prototype, two weaving communities—one based in Hyderabad and another one in a village in Tamil Nadu are using his invention.
It easily takes over a month for a weaver to create a complicated design like the following while costing anywhere between Rs 80,000-95,000 for the final product. “But with Modha Device incorporated to a loom, the same design can easily be created within 5-10 minutes with zero time invested for design creation. Furthermore, because punch cards are made of card board (made from trees), its elimination in Modha Device makes it an eco-friendly as well sustainable innovation.