I was a speaker at Emtech India Conference 2010, speaking about "Cash boxes for Rural India" as part of the Social Innovations session. The panel discussion was chaired by Prof Anil K Gupta of IIM Ahmedabad.
Unfortunately I had to miss out on most of the discussions, needing to be back in Chennai very soon. Of the discussions that I could be part of, the talk by Dr Raskar (of MIT Labs) was very interesting, with the technologies that he demonstrated looking like straight out of a sci-fi movie.
There was also a young asst. professor from IIT-B - Shashikanth Suryanarayanan fro Dept of Mechanical Engineering, giving a talk about decoupling decision making and actuation. He has a case study about an advanced 'power steering' also capable of independently steering the front wheels (like / \ or \ /). This talk was interesting from two angles - the innovative technology part, and more importantly, the feel good factor about having bright young talents as profs at IITs.
The other technology innovator I was impressed with was Kranthi Kiran Vistakula (founder of Dhama Apparel Innovations), who has made a light weight (600 g) 'air conditioned jacket' which uses hydrogen bonding (I couldnt understand how), powered by small batteries. The nearest competitor product weighs a few kilograms.
It was good to meet these innovators first hand. Suddenly it dawned on me that technology innovation in India is not merely about software alone and that these are capable of having a greater impact on Indian life than its software growth.
The talk given by me at Emtech (on 8th March) as well as launch of India's largest solar powered ATM roll-out by my company Vortex has been covered in DNA on its 14th March Bangalore edition.