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17 technologists feted for Innovative solutions to address grand challenges

Team YS
7th Feb 2011
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A set of 17 bright technologists were feted for bringing out innovative solutions to address great challenges for India. Seven award winning groups of scientists, computer engineers, social entrepreneurs from Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Hewlett Packard India (HP), Nokia Siemens Networks and Barrier Break Technologies chosen for their exceptional solutions presented solutions to address mega problems facing India.

The solutions included an advisory application for farmers for crop protection, internet based education delivery system for schools, smart power management, rural healthcare, traffic management, clean drinking water and communication tool for hearing impaired.

Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General Bureau of Energy Efficiency and a member of the Prime Minister’s council on climate change while congratulating the winners exhorted them to convert these innovations into applications quickly to address the needs of India’s teaming millions. He Invited technologists to find solutions for conserving energy an estimated 50 per cent of which is wasted at homes and industries.

Mr. Balvinder Singh Kalsi, President of South Asia and Chairman, E. I. DuPont India called for a consistent and collaborative approach in making these solutions inclusive to benefit India’s millions. He called for forging partnerships between scientific community and the governments in addressing challenges that stem from growing global population depleting scarce resources quickly.

MIT’s Technology Review, the 112-year old technology publication’s editors for India identified 10 Grand Challenges for Technologists that attracted over 200 solutions.

A 12-mem¬ber jury of technologists, researchers, technology promoters, helped by the magazine’s editorial team and DuPont, the global chemicals group known for innovations, as the strategic partner, chose the best solutions.

To address the challenge in the agriculture sector, mKrishi, a software-based advisory platform by TCS’ Bhushan G. Jagyasi and Arun Pande combines ground based sensors and mobile signals has the ability to provide warnings to farmers about impending pest attacks to take preventive measures by using the ubiquitous mobile phones.

Providing cost-effective education in India’s vast hinterland has been a major challenge. The Technology Review India jury found the personalized education delivery system based on cloud computing platform, developed by Hewlett-Packard Laboratories India as the most innovative technology solution to develop future schools in India.

The Hewlett Packard India Labs team of Sudhir Dixit, Krishnan Ramanathan, Ashish Sharma, and Srinivasa Ramani has developed an online school hosting service to help spread the benefits of education to millions of school children around the country.

The solution developed by Kumar Padmanabh and Sanjoy Paul from Infosys Technologies is a smart chip that can be plugged to all power-hungry devices. The chip can identify energy wastage and can be controlled remotely using mobile phones thus meeting the ever-growing need for energy in India, a major cause of concern for policy makers.

The best solution in the health care category -- SiteOnMobile application developed by Geeta Manjunath, Revathi MM, and Sudhir Dixit at HP Labs India. The application relies on India’s mobile revolution to deliver a variety of health care related information to health care providers in all corners of the country using even low-featured mobile phones both through text and voice modes. This will enable the fruits of modern medical research to reach all parts of the country.

Malavika Sujith and Lakshminarasimham G. at Nokia Siemens Networks have developed a smart key that can be embedded in all driving licenses. The key will communicate real-time data about the movement of the vehicle to a central server. If all driving licenses use this key, every time a vehicle hits the road it will be possible to estimate traffic density with a view to reduce the burdened of ever increasing traffic. It will also be possible to track unlicensed drivers on the road.

A low-cost water purifier, Sujal, developed by Chetan Malhotra, Dilshad Ahmad, and Shankar Kausley using a matrix of pebble, cement, and rice husk ash, at TCS is the Technology Review India jury’s choice as the best solution to help rural India with clean, potable water at affordable cost.

In the education sector, there is an innovative solution, Signntalk, an online interpretation service to help people with speech disabilities to communicate freely with the world. Here those with speech disabilities have to connect to the company’s website through the Internet. A round-the-clock call center will have interpreters who read the sign language and communicate their messages to anyone they wished to speak to. Developed by Ramya Venkitesh from an upcoming Mumbai-based company, BarrierBreak Technologies, Signntalk has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people in the world. The editors chose to make Signntalk an Editors’ Choice solution.

About Technology Review

Technology Review (published by Technology Review Inc., an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA and by Cyber Media India Limited in India, the oldest technology journal in the world set up in1899 aims to promote the understanding of emerging technologies and focuses on analyzing their commercial, social, and political impacts.) featured innovative technologies and solutions relevant to solving some of the most urgent challenges facing the nation.

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