by March 1, 2011 0 comments



I ‘m in Bangalore, at our group publication Technology Review India’s annual EmTech conference.

Some inspiring tech creations have been presented by under-35 Indian innovators, in the TR35 program. From mobile anti-spam software, to technology to secure networks, to a smarter root canal machine, to a novel method of screening for eye disease in small kids using the red-eye effect from digital cameras with flash…

What strikes me is the number of projects around environment, water, and energy.

Krishna Gopal Singh, 29, created a printing ink that cuts harmful emissions to near-zero. The biodegradable ink uses a resin made from non-edible vegetable oil. (Offset printers emit over 500 million Kgs of volatile organic compounds annually.)

Fahad Azad, 29, created a robot to clean aircon ducts without sending in children to do the dirty work, as is done today. His ‘duct bots’ are in use in the Indian Navy, and elsewere.

Harit Soni, 27, developed a smart-grid system suited to India, to optimize electricity, using the ZigBee standard (an alternative to Bluetooth).

Pulkit Gaur, 29, who comes from a water-starved part of Rajasthan, designed a robot which cleans deep water tanks without emptying them or interrupting water flow, complete with live video feed.

Sanjoy Ghosh, 32, created the ‘EMO’, a gadget that connects to the onboard port of a vehicle to transmit emission data wirelessly. It also gives audible feedback to influence driving style and save fuel.

Srinivasan Jayaraman, 32, has developed a biometric system that uses human ECG to authenticate, while also diagnosing medical problems on the fly as you gain access to a building!

For the other brilliant innovations (18 were recognized) see bit.ly/TR-35.




Emtech is in Bangalore’s Royal Gardenia, where I am writing this. This is the world’s largest hotel to be platinum-rated on the LEED system (see bit.ly/LEED-GBC), quite a feat for a resource-guzzling luxury hotel. ITC Hotels has been a green pioneer. Its headquarters, the iconic Green Center, close to our own office in Gurgaon’s sector 32, is LEED platinum too.

The biggest LEED platinum building in the world has a living green roof with 1.7 million native plants that drop the building’s temperature ten degrees. That’s the spectacular California Academy of Sciences museum, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park (bit.ly/calac).

And what about green homes? There are a few of those, but too few.

Actress and model Gul Panag (a fellow-jury member on the NDTV Gadget Guru awards) has spent much time and effort in her new, green home near Pune, working to TERI’s GRIHA specs (though finally deciding against certification, due to cost and efforts in a remote location).

Middle-East-based businessman Swapan Das is re-doing a house at the Tatvam Villas on Gurgaon’s new real-estate hotspot, Sohna Road, aiming for LEED platinum. His architect Nilanjan Bhowal (designconsortiumindia.com) explained to me the challenges of a LEED platinum rating for an existing construction, and that too on a campus with many restrictions (solar panels should not be visible, etc). And I, too, have just stepped onto the path to discovering the challenges of building my own green home, perhaps the first one in Delhi. Do you have a green home, whether rated or not? Tell me about it.

Yes, there should be many more green homes around. And TERI needs to do a better job in promoting GRIHA (see grihaindia.org). For instance, think of the impact of all future apartments going green!

There are too few green homes around…TERI needs to promote its GRIHA system better

Finally, we should never forget the one great great positive: more consumer (and developer) choice. Who knows, this duo may yet come up with great products that will change the game.

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