Bangalore, India: Innovations for rural markets designed by Indian students bagged top honours at technology competitions organised by Microsoft and Intel.
At the 2010 Microsoft Imagine Cup, a team led by Pranay Sharma of National Chiao Tung University emerged as the winner out of a pool of 3.25 lakh contestants from 113 countries. Sharma’s team used cloud computing and satellite-imaging tools to provide real-time agricultural information to farmers using a mobile phone.
At the ‘Intel India Embedded Challenge 2010’, this week the top prize went to TractRobot an unmanned tractor, developed by a four-member team led by Sanjay Bansal that uses a combination of GPS, GIS, remote video monitoring and artificial intelligence . Low-energy mobile-wearable real-time health monitoring system, smart Braille reader, gesture-based wheelchair control system and embedded devices designed for replacing books taken to schools are some other solutions that drew attention at the Intel competition.
Typically, the winning ideas at such competitions are converted into commercial start-ups as in the case of Creative Riot, a Mumbai-based start-up that hawks power monitoring software to large corporates following its success at the Microsoft Imagine Cup. “Nearly 16 start-up companies have been formed out of ideas first presented at the Imagine Cup,” said Mark D’Souza, senior breadth evangelist, DPE Academy, Microsoft India.
“Such competitions enable an ecosystem where entrepreneurs, technologists and investors can meet in an exciting environment,” said Sudhir Sethi, founder chairman and managing director of IDG Ventures. While the Imagine Cup was in its eighth edition, this was the first time that Intel India organised the Embedded Challenge.
Traffic management solutions were another area that drew attention at Intel. Students from VIT, Vellore showcased their low-cost embedded system that can monitor the speed of the vehicles and also capture the images of the violators. The faculty of Heritage Institute of Technology (HIT), Kolkata presented a wireless sensor network-based system that can detect malicious object such as IED (improvised explosive device) on railway tracks.
“Investors can find future entrepreneurs and new technologies at these events”, said IDG’s Sethi, whose USD150-million fund has invested in start-ups such as 3D Solid Compression, which was incubated jointly at Stanford University and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.
Source: Economic Times