2018 will always be a year that’d be remembered for multiple geopolitical crises that hit the earth in the western world and even made tremors in the Middle East. But the latter, is unfortunately often the case as such, isn’t it? This was a year where rabble-rousing against Donald Trump reached a crescendo, given the American President’s polarizing decisions; moves on immigrants that earned him the wrath of the public-at-large.
2018 will also be remembered and in fact, mustn’t be forgotten for arguably the greatest man-made tragedy in the Middle East, explosive and undeniable in size since the Second World War. The ongoing Yemen Crisis affected millions in a tiny part of the Middle East where Israel is quietly watching the proceedings, with its Arab Neighbours perhaps too stunned to interfere in a country that’s bleeding for help.
As hundreds of thousands of kids are dying, with many on the verge of starvation as the mindless ferocity of war continues to pit Houthi Rebels against an exile government with western powers yet to react, if at all they’d, one wonders what happened in 2018 in other parts of the world?
While there were some blips for Tesla’s Elon Musk, a relentless genius who had to face the media- for, would you believe it- matters that had more to do with smoking a joint that running what’s essentially an idea for the present, not merely the future: electric cars.
In a year that was rightfully about #MeToo, it could be said, activism delivered a dominant victory for a discourse of our time that’s more than a pretty-sounding phrase in a book: Feminism.
Women of the world, may more power be yours always.
But having said that, can one ignore a country that’s not just the world’s largest democracy but also a hub of innovation; a country that’s spurring new organizations regularly to fulfil their potential?
How was 2018 for India from the sphere of innovation?
What were the top innovations in 2018 that, once again, catapulted India to the attention of the globe? Who were the people behind them and what were these fascinating ideas?
Let’s find out:
Metamaterial by IIT-Kanpur
There’s more to Kanpur than needlessly resorting to the UP-driven cliche of men chewing the beetle leaf and women gossipping among themselves. Those who still derive a thrill from this cultural personification are perhaps fans of movies that haven’t grown in taste or know nothing about exuberance.
Renowned for being a thriving trading community, Kanpur excites with the promise of its IIT and delivers, time and again, on ideas that truly possess the fire to change India.
This year too, the venerable IIT-Kanpur was at the heart of some innovation, that was, well, the need of the hour and for a while now, especially from the perspective of defence preparedness of India.
In creating ‘Metamaterial’, students came together to create a lightweight, ultra-thin, stealth material (read textile-based metamaterials) for radar absorption.
Okay, confused as to what the use of this concept it? Once soldiers wear this specific uniform, which is textile-based metamaterials, they can avoid detection by enemy-radar.
Smartphone-based censors for checking adulteration in Milk, IIT Hyderabad
Okay, so we know purity is something that’s basically a nice-sounding word and that impurity is, at the heart, of what we inhale, eat, and even drink. Right? But what if you had at your disposal, an idea that lets you check, and therefore, validate the purity, hence, quality of what you’re having?
What if you could examine the overall quality of milk using actually smartphone censors; would you turn a blind eye to the idea?
For sure, IIT Hyderabad’s researchers have nailed it by currently researching on a technology that helps ascertain the aforementioned.
The smartphone-based censors would immediately study the quality of the milk and basis its quality, ascertain the acidity of milk.
Silly Monks Entertainment
Among the most successful and rapidly rising sectors in India is ‘entertainment.’ Therefore, how could it have lagged behind where it came to displaying some innovations for 2018, right?
Apparently, adjudged among the most innovative companies for 2018 by Fast Company, Silly Monks Entertainment, a digital-entertainment start-up is managing over 900 Youtube channels, apart from distributing media, TV, other visual content.
The firm actually came out with an IPO in 2018 and is currently like to expand toward Southeast Asia.
Geetanjali Rao, Tethys
As a nine-year-old, Geetanjali, an Indian-American resident of Michigan in the United States was concerned and really upset about the Flint water crisis for she was in the United States, (where she is currently as well) when a major issue broke out.
That the Flint water crisis that had swept Michigan off is feet actually led to the creation of a low-cost, economical, trusted solution to ward off water-related diseases that directly posed a threat for everyone.
With an agenda to check the water-contamination by virtue of testing lead-content in the water, Geetanjali, ever interested in the sphere of science and experimentation came out with Tethys; a low-cost, pocket-friendly monitor of lead-content in the water, an idea she was able to execute using help of her teachers at school and relying on hours and hours of study borne out of self-interest.
What is fascinating isn’t the fact that Geetanjali’s invention has been covered in different journals of the west, as well as the east, but that she is not yet a teen but is responsible for creating something that may have challenged the limits of many an elder’s imagination.
Deepak Solanki, Velmenni Research and Development Pvt. Ltd, Wi-Fi using lightbulbs
After having dabbled with robotics at not one but two IITs: Mumbai and Hyderabad, Solanki’s first poignant moment came in 2012, where he chanced upon ‘Light-Fidelity’ technology.
The Internet, as we know it, rests on power supplied by radio waves for it to function. But who supplies the power? Wi-Fi, right?
Just that in Deepak Solanki’s case, the internet can be powered by LED bulbs-believe it or not- which, form the principal crux of his business idea, a prototype of the Li-Fi, a revolutionary method that powers the Internet to function on the power transmitted by light-bulbs. That Li-Fi can provide Internet speeds that are 100 times faster than conventional Wi-Fi makes this platform every bit alluring that it is and Deepak’s work in this field every bit challenging as it may have been.
Paperboy, Jonna Venkata Karthik Raja
Ever heard of a newspaper aggregator? What does it do? Well, to put things into perspective, imagine the simple scenario where a mobile app that featured the widest possible range of Indian magazines and newspapers aggregated news at one space, into one large chunk of massive information? While all of that sounds laborious, believe it or not, it is already true and existing for real. All one’s got to do is to explore the App: Paperboy, where news content from wide-ranging Indian magazines and publications are uploaded in real time.