Meet 4 Indians on MIT’s ’35 Innovators Under 35′ list

Four young Indians have made it to the annual global list of 35 Innovators Under 35 of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review's.

The institute says the individuals on the list are "inspiring and creative people" who "also illustrate the most important emerging technologies of the moment."

Here is a profile of these innovators who have worked to better many lives:

Rahul Panicker, an engineer based in Bengaluru, studied at Stanford University but returned home to work on a technology solution that helps reduce infant mortality rate. The 34-year-old created an incubator that costs only 1% of the traditional solutions and can keep babies warm for up to six hours without electricity.

In 2009, Panicker launched Embrace to mass-produce his prototype, which costs 99% less than the average warmer and can be run on hot water. His incubators have been used in 15 countries and has helped about 2,00,000 babies.

Aaswath Raman, a research associate at Stanford, has used a nanoscale manufacturing technique to create a disc mirror that gets colder under direct sunlight, and stays around 5 degrees Celsius cooler than the surrounding air. The cooling material takes advantage of the fascinating phenomenon of objects cooling down by radiating heat—this is why dew forms on blades of grass at night.

Raman's nanoscale manufacturing method makes his mirror a lot more effective and is able to stay cool even during full daylight. The 30-year-old 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. If Raman's prototype works, you wouldn't have to pay a bomb for running your air conditioner.

Rohan Paul, a 30-year-old post-doctoral fellow at IIT-Delhi, has created a Rs 3,250 obstacle-detection system for the visually challenged called SmartCane. The idea came to him in 2005 when he went to the National Association for the Blind while studying at IIT and heard how the students there frequently hurt themselves by walking into open windows, trees and parked vehicles.

Paul created a foldable cane that can detect obstacles. It was first tested in 2012 and users reported 95% fewer collisions. The SmartCane has since been used by 10,000 people.

"It is a 'people's product'—a humble tribute to the Mahatma, who inspired innovators to harness science and technology for the masses," Paul told MIT technology review.

Saurabh Srivastava, a research engineer with Xerox India in Bengaluru, has been creating gesture-based technology that makes it easier for people with limited literacy to use online services.

In a recent project in Assam, 30-year-old Srivastava set up a system that allowed pregnant women to discuss medical problems via a web interface that referred them to free tests and services. The display included animated women health aides to guide the patients.