A low-cost infant warmer that does not need continuous power.These are the path-breaking innovations that have ensured four Indians a place in this year’s edition of MIT Technology Review’s prestigious list of `35 Innovators Under 35′, announced early on Tuesday. Previous winners include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and the selection is a recognition the publication accords to “exceptionally talented technologists whose work has great potential to transform the world,“ according to an MIT release.
Rahul Alex Panicker, co-founder of Embrace Innovations which makes infant warmers that do not need continuous power, has been acknowledged as a humanitarian for his work in medicine and biotechnology“ while Xerox India researcher Saurabh Srivastava’s “voice and gestural interfaces could make digital technologies available to the world’s poorest people“, according to MIT Tech Review.“The work is very satisfying because it is aimed at marginalised users,“ Srivastava, 30, said, adding that he was very happy with the recognition.
His work, which focuses on helping people deprived of technology get real-time information online, is primarily in voiceand gesture-based interfaces for lowliterate users. Panicker, 34, said the recognition was a huge honour. “I hope it inspires more young innovators to pursue their passion, grab that solder-iron and go change the world!“ he said.Incidentally, both Panicker and Srivastava are currently based in Bengaluru. Among the Indian winners is Rohan Paul, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, whose `SmartCane’ for the blind vibrates when it detects obstacles through ultrasonic sensors.Paul has termed his $50 device for the blind a “people’s product“ and “a humble tribute to the Mahat ma“. Aaswath Raman, the fourth Indian in MIT’s rankings has crafted a unique material with “optimum levels of thermal radi ation and solar reflection“ which, when used to coat a roof that’s not insulated, would keep the insides cool. The post-doctoral research er at Stanford has received $3 mil lion funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for En ergy to develop his technology.
“Over the years, we’ve had suc cess in choosing young innova tors whose work has been pro foundly influential on the direction of human affairs,“ MIT Technology Review editor-in chief and publisher Jason Pontin was quoted as saying.
“Previous winners include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the cofoun ders of Google, Mark Zuckerberg the cofounder of Facebook and Jo nathan Ive, the chief designer of Apple. We’re proud of our selec tions and the variety of achieve ments they celebrate…“ Last year’s edition of MIT Tech Re view’s 35 winners included three Indians: Tanuja Ganu, for her work in coming up with a simple device to monitor India’s power grid cheaply and easily, Manu Prakash for his innovative, “frugal“ scien tific instruments such as a $5 mi crofluidic chemistry lab, and Shy am Gollakota, for his prototypes of battery-free wireless devices.