By Gayaz Ahmed:
As the calendar stands ready to bid goodbye to yet another year, one cannot help but look back at the year gone by in all shades and hues. From things that made one happy, to those that made us sad, to achievements we felt proud of and to disappointments we promised never to repeat – it was a significant year. And as I sat one day, hearing our PM wax eloquent about our ancient achievements in science and technology, the keypad in front of me had me itching to see how did 2014 look in terms of our achievements in this field.
But as I began to Google about ‘top achievements of India in science and technology in 2014’, the search results annoyed me a bit as almost all the results directed me to the Mars Orbital Mission i.e. M.O.M and the recently launched GSLV Mk-III related articles. Strangely enough, some of the search results forwarded me to the sports achievements of 2014, inspite of my query specifically quoting ‘science and technology’!
What joy or confidence can we expect from this? Is this what our country really is? Don’t we have any achievements to mention apart from our ambitious space program? Are we just happy to play catch-up with the rest of the world, when it comes to science and technology? For a country positioning itself as a global leader, where is the innovation and the path-breaking creation that we might boast off?
Just as I began to get disheartened is when I landed on the right kind of links. I found some of the most interesting and useful innovations by our fellow Indians who carried their work without any grand hype and media gloss. These champions are deserved to be remembered by all of us.
And so here they are, the top 5 ‘Unsung Heroes’ of 2014 and their remarkable innovations:
Invented by Dr. Rajvanshi, this lamp cum stove apparatus will not only cook food, but also produces a high quality light without polluting the environment. It also cooks food faster than the traditional stove.
Invented by Arsh Shah Dilbagi, a student from Delhi, TALK is an AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) device that helps people with developmental disabilities and speech impairments to communicate in a normal form of speech. TALK was selected as one of the Top 15 Projects of Google Science Fair 2014.
Invented by Assistech (a lab of IIT-Delhi that focuses on developing affordable technology for the visually impaired). Smart Cane is an aid for the visually impaired that provides safe and independent mobility which eases their integration into the society. It helps its user diagnose any above-the-knee obstruction from a distance of 3 meters.
Invented by Anirudh Sharma, this ‘Le Chal’ (‘take me with you’) shoe can assist the visually impaired in navigating easily from one place to another. The shoe can be connected to the user’s smartphone through Bluetooth and vibrates according to the directions to the destination.
Detecting HIV with a Finger Prick of Blood:
Invented by Sultan Khetani, this unique technology will enable users to do viral load testing on their own without having to spend a huge amount in hospitals. Using a finger prick of blood placed on a disposable paper with flexible electrodes, one can find out the viral load, i.e. amount of HIV present in blood.
Looking back at our achievements in a year should bring us joy and confidence. But sometimes, these achievements come from the unacknowledged heroes, who are doing their best to address the very real problems of the society and make our country better.
Each day is a little bit of history.
Let’s get inspired from these and many other unacknowledged, unrecognised and unrewarded scientists, who are setting up a better today – for a brighter tomorrow.