Indian American Aaswath Raman and Indian-origin innovators Rahul Panicker, Rohan Paul and Saurabh Srivastava were among the “35 Innovators under 35,” a list created by the MIT Technology Review and announced Aug. 18.
The annual list is broken up into six categories: biotechnology and medicine; computer and electronics hardware; energy; Internet and web; nanotechnology and materials; and software.
Raman, 30, a researcher at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., was honored for his work in energy. His innovation could potentially lead to air conditioning units saving energy by beaming heat into outer space.
He has a prototype on the roof of Stanford’s Packard Electrical Engineering Building. It is made up of a sheet of passive cooling material about a square meter in area, mounted on a custom-machined plexiglass box patterned with water channels.
In a finished system, the water would circulate through the building air-conditioning system, then go into the cooler box to chill and back into the building system.
Raman, who still needs to demonstrate that his prototype can chill a substantial volume of water, has already partnered with a manufacturer that can produce large sheets of the cooling material for further development.
Panicker is the president and co-founder of Bangalore-based Embrace Innovations. A graduate of IIT Madras, the innovator received his M.S. and doctorate from Stanford University. His company, Embrace, has found a way to help premature babies.
With help from some Stanford classmates, they created a prototype incubator that costs 1 percent of traditional solutions and can be operated by a non-expert.
The incubator uses phase-change materials to keep babies at the ideal temperature for up to six hours without electricity. When heated with hot water or another source, a phase-change material melts, and it can release heat the baby needs at a constant temperature.
Paul, while an undergraduate student at IIT Delhi, envisioned a sensing system on canes for the blind. Using the help of the potential users, Paul and fellow students created a basic prototype using ultrasonic ranging for detection and vibrations for feedback.
With the users’ help, Paul ended up with a sleek handle-shaped attachment that fits on the traditional white cane. It was tested in 2012 with 95 percent fewer collisions. The SmartCane was released as a product in early 2014, retailing at about $50. About 10,000 people use the cane today.
Srivastava is a senior research engineer for Xerox India. He has been crafting technologies that could eventually make it easy for people with limited literacy to obtain information and use online services by simply speaking into phones or making gestures picked up by inexpensive cameras.
Srivastava has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from IIT Bombay. He investigated a system pregnant women might use to disclose medical problems to a Web interface that could refer them to free tests and services. This is leading him on a path to help the less fortunate with his invention.
The MIT Technology Review has released its annual 35 innovators under 35 since 1999, recognizing exceptionally talented young technologists whose work illustrates the most important emerging technologies of the moment, according to a statement.