From shoes for the visually impaired to ink from soot – what drives this innovator?


This article is sponsored by Ford Figo Aspire – What Drives You? 

Inventors and innovators have always been much-loved figures in pop culture. The introverted genius scientist trope is a beloved one in all forms of fiction. It all begins with him discovering super powers, or inventing a futuristic machine; and in the end, he saves the world! From The Flash to Mr. India, this particular formula is widely used, and seems to fascinate all age groups. So meet Anirudh Sharma - a real life innovator, straight out of the pages of a comic book, and a superhero when it comes to technology.

Anirudh is one of the winners of the Ford ‘What Drives You?’ contest. He can be best described as a serial innovator, and was named ‘Indian Innovator of the Year’ by the prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 2011. One of Anirudh’s remarkable achievements is the LeChal project, which manufactures interactive haptic shoes for the visually impaired. They offer high mobility to the visually impaired, without the help of expensive visual aid devices. This project has now transformed into a startup, and is manufacturing low-cost shoes for the visually impaired in India.

Anirudh’s other projects are jaw-dropping, not only in their variety, but also in the sheer outrageousness of the thought behind them. He has worked on a printer that harvests ink from the soot that is a byproduct of air pollution. A technology-based solution to reduce conflict between human settlements and wild elephant communities in South India is another of his remarkable projects.

These days, Anirudh is heading a Research & Development lab dabbling in areas like wearable computing, augmented reality and machine learning. Of course, as a winner of the Ford Figo Aspire ‘What Drives You?’ contest, Anirudh took some time off to enjoy a drive on a new Ford Figo Aspire. He was also directed to a surprise destination - watch the video to know what he found!

Anirudh has big plans for the Rs 1 lakh he won from the ‘What Drives You?’ contest. He intends to organise a hackathon for school children, to help create tangible work solutions.

Now that you’ve seen, and been inspired by, What Drives Anirudh, you too can win by sending in an entry on what drives you. There is nothing as fulfilling as following one’s dreams.

As Lao Tzu said, “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

It is time to talk about ‘What Drives You’?