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Innovations 2011 Contest: What product/services can the tech community build for Pune

Update: The contest is over. Winners and Judges comments are:

  • Satish Tilokchandani: “Good News Reporter”. Comments: A simple idea that could really catch on if done well. And can spread beyond Pune too.
  • Hemanshu Narsana: “Transportation Options Calculator”. Comments: Would be really useful if it included estimated rickshaw fares, and 6-seater routes.
  • Dhanashree Srivastava: “RFID tags for kids”. Utility is limited to only certain contexts, but an interesting project for students/techies to work on.

On Saturday, 8th January, Pune will again play host to a number of innovative inventors from across the country, as part of Innovations 2011, an event organized by the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter. This event showcases the best science and technology innovations in India (whether they are from startups, large companies, or elsewhere) that have been implemented in practice. The innovations are from varied fields such as medicine, agriculture, mechanical/electronic/chemical technology, IT products, etc. Here are some example innovations from previous years:

  • a simple mechanical device that prevents toilets in Indian trains from discharging waste products at a station (i.e. when a train is stationary), but opens up when the train is moving over 40mph
  • a health alert emergency system for senior citizens, to be worn on the body, and which can automatically detect if they’ve fallen, and can alert emergence response systems
  • a solar powered pivot irrigation by a lone inventor
  • an integrated system for ethanol production from sorghum, by Pune’s Praj Industries,
  • wi-fi security by AirTight networks,
  • stem cell therapy for pre-eclampsia

This year, again the event promises to be great. The keynote address is being given by Chetan Maini, CTO of Reva Electric Vehicles (which is now a Mahindra & Mahindra company). For more details of the event schedule see here.

Register here if you wish to attend. There is an entry price – Rs. 750 (with dinner), or Rs. 500 (without dinner).

Every year, Innovations holds a contest where PuneTech readers have a chance to win free passes for Innovations.

The contest this year is this:

Briefly describe a product or service that the tech community can design, develop and deploy for the benefit of the citizens of Pune.

The basic idea is this: there are lots of enthusiastic techies in the tech community in Pune, and we could easily harness their energies to build some great products that can benefit Pune. It could be some simple Question and Answer website like ForPune.com, or something more complicated. It need not necessarily be a InfoTech idea; could be anything else.

The entries will be judged on the basis of these factors:

  • Usefulness: How much does it benefit the citizens of Pune? How much does it benefit society?
  • Ease of implementation: How much effort will it take to implement. The easier it is to implement, the more the chances of winning. For example, any idea that requires the “co-operation” of PMC, or some other government body, has a low chance of being implemented successful, and hence a low chance of winning. (On the other hand, an idea that requires the co-operation of Pune Traffic Police will get higher marks because PTP has been pretty fabulous last year at implementing innovative IT based ideas)
  • Uniqueness: The more “innovation” your idea has, the more different/unique it is from anything else we’ve seen before, the higher marks it gets.

Please describe your idea in brief in the comments section below. The last date for submitting ideas is Thursday, 6th January, 12 noon. Winners will be announced by Friday, 7th Jan. If you’ve already bought a ticket for Innovations, and you win the contest, your ticket price will be refunded. If you don’t actually want the ticket, or if you’re happy to pay the price (which is rather reasonable), you can still enter the contest – simply indicate at the end of your entry that you’re not interested in the ticket. Please ensure that you give correct email address with your comment – so we can contact you if you’ve won.

There will be 3 winners.

Innovations 2010: Event Update

Last Saturday, Pune played host to a number of science and technology innovators from around the country, as a part of the Innovations 2010 conference.

Innovations is an annual conference to showcase new ideas from across the country. It is hosted by the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter
Innovations is an annual conference to showcase new ideas from across the country. It is hosted by the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter. Click on the logo for other PuneTech articles about Innovations.

Overall it was an interesting conference, a little hat ke. There was much less software/IT/web-2.0 kind of stuff, and much more basic science and technology. Also, it was not all targeted towards startups; which means that they also highligh individual innovators’ ideas that are not necessarily going to become a big business (for example, a method for cleanliness at a railway station), and also some interesting ideas from larger companies (e.g. the rapid DFM review and collaboration solution for injection molding from Geometric). Such innovations are not normally included in places like proto or headstart.

I missed the keynote presentation by Sanjay Nayak of Tejas Networks. However, Abhijit Athavale has covered it on his blog. Excerpt:

The event was kickstarted with a keynote by Sanjay Nayak, CEO of Tejas Networks, which is a Bangalore based optical networking startup. Tejas, which has been around for the last 5 years or so, is profitable and has revenues close to $150m. That is quite an impressive feat from an Indian high-tech startup, selling products from India worldwide. It is also a shining example to the naysayers who keep on saying that Indian product companies cannot sell products in the US. I hope that more people follow Tejasâ lead and venture into the space. Sanjay mentioned that India itself is a great market for petrochemical and telecom markets, and if you design products that satisfy the needs of these markets, you will have the advantage of selling close to home in the markets you know; something that your gadzillion dollar competitor does not. That said, it is imperative that the products you build are international class; in other words, you must implement internationally standard processes and techniques to make this happen. One thing that is lacking in India is government support â by making a policy that Indian Govt agencies/companies must buy from Indian product companies if the product quality is on par, the government will give a significant boost to innovation in the high-tech space. Instead of innovating for MNCs, people will start innovating for their own companies.

The Main Course – The Innovations

Here is a list of the innovations that were presented. These are mainly short, one or two line descriptions of the main innovation. You’ll notice that there are a bunch of Pune companies in this list.

Electronically driven supercharger

Rajeev Ranadive, Automotive Robotics, Pune Company

Customers like powerful dynamic cars, but don’t want to pay for it. More accurately, they want extra power during acceleration or climbing. Not really required all the time. And turbochargers run all the time, which is a waste. Instead, they have a electrically driven supercharger which provides the extra power only when needed, and at low engine speeds, it charges the battery. Hence it require lower electrical input, and higher mechanical output.

This company was also at proto.in Pune, but here they presented a different innovation. Which is pretty cool.

HyCator Cavitating Reactor Engine

Anjan Mukherjee, HyCa Technologies

HyCa was pretty much a repeat of their proto.in, Pune, presentation, so not repeating it here.

Generating electricity from ocean waves.

S.G. Kanitkar, Enviro Abrasion Resistent Engineers Pvt. Ltd., Pune Company

Their system is called ANEESH (Adaptive Near-shore Energy Extraction and Supply Hydrokinator. This mechanism has lower initial set-up expenses (“capital costs”) than solar or biomass energy, and cost and capacity utilization factor is comparable to other renewable energy sources. They have a prototype that is 1.5m x 4m x 6.5m which generates 2 kW of power. They need collaborators for electrical systems and electronic controls to complete the full system. In addition, they want people who can liaise with government bodies to ensure that they get past the appropriate regulatory hurdles.

Avoiding crap at the railway station.

Rajendra Ladkat, individual inventor, Pune inventor

The current method is just a hole in the train compartment and the crap ends up on the tracks everywhere and anywhere, including the railway stations. Ravindra has invented a simple mechanism which ensures that the waste matter is discharged only when the train is going at high speeds, which is a much better place to discharge it than when the train is stationary. It is a simple vertical HDPE pipe, with sloping sides and two flexible flaps. The flaps open when the train speed goes about 40kmph. Trial was conducted in Pragati express in Jan 2009, and the trial was found to be satisfactory by all stakeholders. Economics: 9000 passenger trains with 40000 comparments (which means 1,60,000 potential installations). This totally costs 48cr (contrast with Rs. 4000 cr. allocated by government for green toilets.) He is looking for business collaborators.

Design for Manufacturability tool for CAD/CAM software

Bhaskar Sinha, Geometric Software, Pune Company (mostly)
DFM = Design for Manufacturability. Designers can check for manufacturability in their CAD tool itself. When the designer is creating a design in CAD, the tool will check and validation the design from a manufacturability point of view. It points out problem areas and indicates what constraint was violated by the design. Contextual help at this point gives the user information about best practices (and this can include knowledge from the customer company itself.) (@aparanjape thinks that this kind of functionality should be there in major CAD/CAM products, so it’s not really clear what the innovation here is.)

Non-duplicatable material for security (ID cards, etc)

Raman Nanda, Bilcare, Pune Company

NonClonable security technology, from Bilcare. Consider ID cards, driving licenses, ration cards, health cards, NREGA cards. Any of them can be duplicated. Bilcare has used nanomaterials and micromaterials to develop a material that has a unique “material fingerprint”. This is invisible to the naked eye, but machine readable. And since it is at the micro/nano scale, it is not duplicatable. It cannot be reproduced, even by the original manufacturer (or Bilcare). This technology can be integrated with any security technology, like barcodes, RFID, or magstrips. They claim this requires significantly lower total cost of ownership, since this technology does not require any electronic parts in the card. It requires the scanner (i.e. the device that is used to check the identity) to be connected to a central server.

Tree Climbing Device

Mushtaq Ahmed from Kashmir, and Sham Antoorkar from Ahmedabad

They have invented a simple mechanical (non-electronic) device that can be used by unskilled people to climb trees/poles/etc easily and safely and allows resting while climbing. Mushtaq invented the device and Sham make some changes to make it commercially viable. The plan is to launch it by March 2010.

Rotory variable compression ratio engine

Das Ajee Kamath, Gyatk

You can’t put petrol in a diesel car, or diesel in a petrol car. VCR = Variable Compression Engine, would allow you to put any fuel in any engine. And this is an idea that companies all over the world have been working on for 20+ years – but it has significant limitations. Gyatk has invented a rotory VCR, which overcomes the limitations. They have a working prototype, and patents in 40+ countries, and engagement with two major auto companies in the country.

Health emergency alert system for Seniors

Umang Salgia, Wellcore Corp. Pune Company?

A device that seniors can wear on their body and it can automatically detect emergency situations, or the person can manually activate it, and it sends an alert to the appropriate person/organization. It monitors vital signs, motion, blood pressure etc. And the alert also gives the location of where the emergency happened.

I think Wellcore has a development center in Pune. (Given that both founders are Pune folks, I’d guess that it is mainly a Pune company, but I cannot find any information on their website, or anywhere else on the web. Can somebody confirm?). It is interesting to note that Wellcore also presented at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show, at Las Vegas, the biggest electronics conference in the world) this year, and was chosen as one of the top ten products by this website.

Document sharing with remote control of secure information

Rahul Kopikar, Seclore Systems
A system that allows sharing of documents but where the original document creator retains control of the sensitive information in the document. At a later stage, if the document creator can revoke the permissions and the document will become unreadable.

You, me and Disaster, a card game for increasing disaster management awareness

Peeyush Sekhsaria, Handesign, Bangalore
There is a need to get individuals and communities involved in understanding disaster management. Hence this is a card game that allows people to understand disaster management in a fun settings. Serves like a facilitation tool for teachers, trainers, social workers etc.

Making rain – a low cost way of seeding clouds and causing rain

Shreehari Marathe, individual inventor, Nanded Maharashtra
Seeding clouds to cause rain involves spraying clouds with appropriate minerals. Conventionally done by aircraft. Shreehari invented a way of doing this by burning tyres and putting the salt on it. The smoke carries the salt to the clouds and results in rain. (For reasons I cannot pinpoint, this idea is causing a bad science alert for me. I wonder whether this idea has been proved under scientific, controlled conditions. It is possible that this whole idea suffers from confirmation bias, and other such statistical anomalies.)

Innovations 2010: Showcasing the best science and technology in practice – Jan 9

On next Saturday, 9th January, Pune will play host to a number of innovative inventors from across the country, as part of Innovations 2010, the flagship event of the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter. This is an event that showcases some of the best science and technology innovations in India (whether they are from startups, large companies, or elsewhere), that have been implemented in practice. The innovations showcased could be in the form of processes, products or applications from varied fields such as medicine, agriculture, mechanical/electronic/chemical technology, IT products, etc. In the past, everything from solar powered pivot irrigation by a lone inventor, to integrated system for ethanol production from sorghum, by Pune’s Praj Industries, to wi-fi security by AirTight networks, to stem cell therapy for pre-eclampsia, has been featured.

Innovations is an annual conference to showcase new ideas from across the country. It is hosted by the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter
Innovations is an annual conference to showcase new ideas from across the country. It is hosted by the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter. Click on the logo for other PuneTech articles about Innovations.

In addition, the event also is a great place for “networking”, i.e. meeting a whole bunch of very interesting people in one place. About 200 to 300 people from all over the country, interested in science, technology, innovation and commercialization of the same will be there – and our experience has been that this is a rather different crowd from the usual suspects that end up in the more usual web-2.0 / proto kinds of conferences that are more normal.

Last year, we had an article about what to expect at Innovations 2009, and why we think you should attend. Most of that advice remains intact, so you should take a look at it to decide whether you’re interested.

Registrations for Innovations 2010 are open, and at Rs. 1000, it falls exactly at the borderline of PuneTech’s policy of only writing about events that are free, or don’t cost too much. What this means is that, in our editorial opinion, this event will be worth it, in spite of the price tag. (But do remember, PHPCamp, which is a free event targeted towards PHP developers, will also be big, and is on the same day. You should check that out too. (Expect a more detailed article about PHPCamp in a few days.))

PuneTech is also giving away two free passes to Innovations 2010 in a contest, so be sure to check that out.

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Nominations open for Innovations 2010 – Showcase your ideas

Innovations is an annual conference to showcase new ideas from across the country. It is hosted by the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter
Innovations is an annual conference to showcase new ideas from across the country. It is hosted by the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter
Innovations is an annual event hosted by the Pune Chapter IIT Bombay Alumni Association in January every year, with the aim of helping innovators and entrepreneurs of India to create and expand the ecosystem around them. The event showcases the select few innovators to an elite gathering of VCs and experts. Innovations 2010 is the fourth event in their series and will feature presentations by 16 selected innovators from around the country.

The focus of Innovations is on novel ideas in practice, primarily originating from Science and Technology. In the past, innovations in the form of processes, products and applications from varied fields such as medicine, agriculture, mechanical/electronic/chemical technology/ Information Technology etc. have been showcased. The innovations to be showcased are selected by a panel of experts drawn from various application areas. They also work with the selected innovators to fine tune their presentation and bring out the unique features.

While the event is arranged by the IITB Alumni Association in Pune, the innovators and participants can be from anywhere. The innovator can benefit from peer recognition, an introduction to the IIT alumni network & mentorship if required. Some of the past innovators were able obtain funding to take their product to the next level. Other interested parties and investors get an opportunity to learn about new ideas and applications and to network.

Note: this is not necessarily a “startup” event. Innovators from all fields, irrespective of their educational qualifications, age group or affiliations to any organizations are welcome to submit their entry. Your entry may be a process, product, design, method, application or even a business model or a model of social entrepreneurship. Innovations from all fields are welcome. Entries are sought from individuals, research/academic institutions, NGOs, or corporate entities (with an annual turnover less than Rs. 50 Crore). Eligibility criteria for submitting an innovation entry are

  • Innovation must be a truly novel idea
  • Must be based on the application of science / technology
  • The idea should have been introduced in practice

Nominations can be submitted at the innovations website. The last date for nominations is October 30th. The actual event will happen on 9th January, 2010, in Pune.

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