Friday, August 27, 2010

INDIANS hit MIT Review List

3 Indians appear in MIT's prestigious Technology Review list

 

BOSTON: Three Indians have been named in MIT's prestigious annual 'Technology Review' list of top young innovators under the age of 35 "who exemplify the spirit of innovation in business and technology." 

Rikin Gandhi, 29, Ranveer Chandra, 34 and Indrani Medhi, 32 are in the '2010 TR35' - list of 35 "outstanding men and women" compiled by Technology Review, an independent media company owned by MIT, that focusses on identifying emerging technologies and analyzing their impact for leaders. 

"This year's winners have created innovations over a wide variety of fields, including energy, biomedicine, communications, IT, transportation and web. 

"Their groundbreaking work is liberating patients from sleep clinics, shaping the rules for social networks and helping populations cope with crisis. The 2010 TR35 are transforming technology and tackling problems in a way that is likely to benefit society and business," editor in chief and publisher ofTechnology Review Jason Pontin said. 

Since 1999, the editors of Technology Review have honoured young innovators whose inventions and research they find most exciting. 

The TR35 is a list of technologists and scientists, all under the age of 35. 

"Their work--spanning medicine, computing, communications, electronics, nanotechnology, and more--is changing our world," Pontin added. 

Gandhi is the founder of the nonprofit 'Digital Green' that focuses on educating farmers about farming techniques through locally produced videos, in which local farmers are featured. 

"Gandhi demonstrated that for every dollar spent, the system persuaded seven times as many farmers to adopt new ideas as an existing programme of training and visits," the Technology Review said. 

He helped launch the programme as a 2006 project at Microsoft Research, India and spent six months testing various video schemes in villages in Karnataka before concluding that featuring local farmers was the key. 

Villagers produce the videos using handheld camcorders; workers from partner nongovernmental organizations then check the quality of the videos and the accuracy of the advice before screening them in the villages with handheld projectors. 

So far 500 videos have been made, but three times that number--which should reach four times as many villages--are currently planned. 

Chandra of Microsoft Research worked on delivering high-speed wireless Internet connections over longer distances. 

He made the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington his laboratory for the first large-scale network to demonstrate the potential of using white spaces to deliver broadband wireless as a solution to the problem that Wi-Fi uses frequencies that can't carry a signal more than a few tens of meters. 

"If such a system gains currency, all of us should be connected and better connected, and not just here in the US," says Chandra. 

Spectrum regulators from Singapore, India, Brazil and China have visited his prototype network to explore the potential for white-space signals to connect large rural areas with minimal infrastructure. 

Medhi focuses on "building interfaces for the illiterate". 

Based at Microsoft Research India's Bangalore lab, she has conducted field research in India, South Africa and the Philippines to design text-free interfaces that could help illiterate and semiliterate people find jobs, get medical information, and use cell-phone-based banking services. 

Computer icons differ from one culture to another, so Medhi used symbols, audio cues and cartoons that are specific to particular poor communities. 

Through a short video dramatization, her target audience is shown how an application is supposed to work. 

The 2010 TR35 were selected from more than 300 submissions by Technology Review editors in collaboration with a panel of judges from leading organizations such as Carnegie Mellon University, Hewlett-Packard, MIT, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Yahoo Labs.

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