Each year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) publishes a list of 35 innovators under the age of 35. The research institute says these "are inspiring and creative people" who "illustrate the most important emerging technologies of the moment." This year, the list includes four Indians – Rahul Panicker (34), Rohan Paul (30), Aaswath Raman (30), and Saurabh Srivastava (30). Here's a brief look at the work of four Indians who made the MIT 35 Innovators Under 35 2015.
Rahul Panicker, Embrace
Rahul Panicker is an engineer from India who studied at Stanford, but then returned home to work on a technology solution that would help reduce infant mortality. Panicker worked on a prototype incubator that costs 1 percent of what traditional solutions cost, and can maintain its temperature for six hours without electricity, according to the MIT Technology Review.
In 2009, Panicker quit his job, and started a company called Embrace in Bangalore which makes these warmers, that are sold in a "hybrid for-profit/ not-for-profit business model".
Rohan Paul, SmartCrane
Rohan Paul created an affordable obstacle detection system for people with visual disabilities – a smart cane that alerts them about anything in their path. "In 2005, I was at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi as an undergraduate. As part of a course intended to design solutions for real-life challenges, we visited the National Association for the Blind in Delhi," Paul told Technology Review. "We heard stories of how people with blindness get hurt when out walking-abruptly hitting open windows, tree branches, or vehicles. It creates so much fear that they are reluctant to step out without assistance."
Paul went on to create the SmartCane, a $50 (approximately Rs. 3,250) attachment that can be clipped onto the traditional white cane used by people with visual disabilities. When Paul and his team tested it in 2012, they found collisions go down by 95 percent.
Aaswath Raman, 'sky cooling'
Aaswath Raman, who is still researching at Stanford, has created a very special mirror that actually gets colder under direct sunlight, and stays around 5 degrees Celsius cooler than the surrounding air. It's the same essential concept that leads to dew formation on leaves and petals – Raman's mirror is just a lot more effective, and able to keep cool even at the higher temperatures during full daylight.
Raman is now working on integrating the material into air-conditioning infrastructure, and has a working prototype on the roof of Stanford's Packard Electrical Engineering Building. The advantage of doing this could be air conditioners that don't give you a giant electricity bill.
Saurabh Srivastava, Xerox India
Saurabh Srivastava researcher at Xerox Research Centre of India, and his work is focused on solving real world problems in areas such as literacy, employment, healthcare and bridging the digital divide by designing interactive systems that can be used by people who are low-literate. "Having spent all my life in the developing world, I have been surrounded by people who are marginalised and underserved," said Srivastava. "I see the huge potential technology can play to enhance the lives of this population that is less-literate or less-digital. Compassion drives me to design and innovate taking into account the unique needs and culture of the underserved so, for example, a farmer can increase their yield or a pregnant woman can get better healthcare."