Five from city find themselves on the much-coveted MIT T35 list

It's not for nothing that Bangalore is called the Technology Capital of the country. For, no less than five innovators from the city find themselves on the much-coveted MIT T35 list.

Over the past three years, the MIT Technology Review India TR35 list of young technology innovator — for those aged under 35 — have been watched closely and received well, both in the media and in the larger tech community. Of the total list of 20, announced on Monday, five are from Bangalore, followed by Mumbai at three, and Delhi and Hyderabad had two each. They were chosen from 250 nominations received from across the country, by a panel of 23 judges.

Diverse fields

From Bangalore, the top innovators are from a diverse range of technology fields, and from different companies. The youngest is Anirudh Sharma, who is Innovator of the Year.

All of 24, he works at Ducere Technologies, and won the award for developing a haptic shoe for the visually impaired. Called Le Chal (which is ‘take me there' in Hindi), the idea behind the technology is that the shoes provide haptic feedback (using tactile feedback based on vibration or motion) to guide visually-impaired users while walking. The wearers voice their destination on Google Maps on their smartphones, which then communicated through Bluetooth to the heel of the shoe. The wearers get instructions in the form of vibrations emanating from the shoe's four vibrators, Sharma explains.

Shirish Goyal (27), an employee of LinkSmart Technologies, devised a new way to control security threats faced by high-value industries using a tamper detection and detection and originality verification system, titled Smartdna.

Animesh Nandi (33), from Bell Labs India at Alcatel-Lucent in the city, also finds himself on the list for his research with creating a Personalized Privacy Platform (P3) that aims at enabling users to avail themselves of personalised services while keeping sensitive personal information safe.

Sumeet Yamdagni (29), who works at Instrumentation Scientific Technologies, won the prize for his work on Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) optical sensing technology. His start-up was incubated at the Indian Institute of Science.

Vikas Malpani (28) finds mention on the list for launching the online portal commonfloor.com, which lists residential facilities, making it easier for users to search for homes and properties.

“I'm very happy our efforts have been recognised as we are the only mass consumer-oriented business centred around solving the basic human need of housing,” he told The Hindu.

Sole woman

Out of the 20 innovators, this year's list has only one woman from India — Priyanka Sharma (28) from CSIR-run Institute of Microbial Technology in Chandigarh. She was chosen for developing a plastic chip which uses simple assay techniques to detect toxic materials in the environment quickly and cost-effectively.

The 20 technologists will present their innovations at the Emerging Technologies Conference, EmTech India 2012, to be held in Bangalore later this month.

A new trend this year, members of the Technology Review group pointed out, is the increased presence of innovators from the public sector institutes — six of the 20 are from IITs and CSIR-funded labs — unlike in previous years where most awardees were from small and medium-size private research institutions.

“It is heartening to see IITs solving unique Indian problems. This culture of innovation in public institutions will enthuse thousands of bright students pursuing technical programs,” said Pradeep Gupta, Publisher of Technology Review India and a distinguished alumnus of IIT Delhi.