Bangalore Monday March 8, 2010: EmTech, the emerging technologies conference from MIT's Technology Review, began at Bangalore today.
Being held in India for the second year in succession, the conference covered a variety of cutting edge topics ranging from green computing techniques, clean transport alternatives and smarter energy grid to the role that wireless can play in connecting India.
Speaking about Emtech, the best attended emerging technologies conference in the US and held at the MIT campus since 2000, Technology Review editor in chief Jason Pontin said, “India is increasingly being recognized as the hotbed of innovative vigour. Branded Indian products and innovations are driving its growth story.”
Prof Subra Suresh, Dean, School of Engineering, MIT in his keynote address said that engineering of the 21st Century will a cross section of disciplines involving engineering, physical sciences, life sciences, medicine and public health to solve micro and macro problems.
Illustrating how engineering is now being increasingly employed to study biological processes, Prof Suresh cited the example of invasion of the malarial parasite that affects the stretchability of a red blood cell, which in turn prevents its movement in the very thin blood vessels of the brain. Earlier, measuring this stretchability was not possible. Now, with the invention of an instrument called the laser tweezer, it is possible to do so and thereby know whether the red blood cell has been infected.
A red blood cell infected by the malarial parasite becomes stiff and sticky due to a protein called RESA. This alters the vibration pattern. Researchers are now able to measure the vibration patterns of a red blood cell by measuring the phase shift of a laser beam passing through it. This can determine whether the cell is healthy or infected.
In yet another example of engineering meeting biology, the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at MIT Suresh pointed out the use of microfluidics to measure the flowability of red blood cells and detect infected ones. Scientists are now using this marriage of microelectronics and microbiology to develop chips which can do in vitro diagnostics in remote places.
Similarly, by combining the disciplines of engineering and cell biology it will be possible to detect cancer cells. Cancer treatment causes abnormal stiffness in red blood cells and this stiffness can now be measured by a technique called Atomic Force Microscopy.
This was followed by a fireside chat on “Activating the Innovation Gene” by Mrs Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon and Dr Andreas Kirchner, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The two-day conference saw nearly 100 of the world's leading tech and business visionaries discussing incubated technologies that are ready to hit the market.
The EmTech 2010 has generated a lot of interest from companies. These include innovative companies like GE Global Research that along with Yahoo! India and HP is supporting sessions focused on Innovation. Technology bellwether known for innovation culture, Wipro, is backing Technology Review’s effort of recognizing young innovators under the age of 35, called India TR35. Strand Life Sciences, Infosys and Elsevier are partnering ‘Innovation Live!’ sessions at EmTech.
About Technology Review, Inc.
Technology Review, the oldest technology magazine in the world, is published by Technology Review, Inc., an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Founded in 1899, the award-winning magazine describes emerging technologies and analyzes their impact for leaders. Occupying a unique position at the intersection of business and technology, Technology Review's global offerings include international editions in China, France, Germany, India and Italy, as well as live events such as the annual EmTech Conference at MIT and the daily newsletter