mangalore today
Monday, June 17


3 Idiots to fund real life inventors

3 Idiots to fund real life inventors


Mumbai, Dec.31: As India prepares to launch itself into a new decade of economic growth, the year’s top movie is energising a rapidly expanding national network of grassroots enterprise.

If you’ve seen 3 Idiots, a frothy film about an impoverished, smart-alecky student-inventor who lives by his wits, you can’t miss the scooter-powered flourmill, a cycle-powered horse hair clipper and exercycle-cum-washing machine.
3 Idiots is topping box-office collections, prompting producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra to annou-nce a fund for the three real-life brains — a Kerala teen, a Maharashtra painter and a UP barber — powering the fertile imagination of wannabe engineer “Rancho”, or Ranchoddass Shyamaldas Chanchad, Aamir Khan’s character.
The inventions were sourced from the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), set up nine years ago by the government with inspiration from a 16-year-old proponent of grassroots invention, the Honey Bee Network.

The popular attention to rural invention couldn’t come at a better time for a nation that increasingly values creativity but is still given to rote learning at schools and colleges.

The popular attention to rural invention couldn’t come at a better time for a nation that increasingly values creativity but is still given to rote learning at schools and colleges.

“We can call Mr Chopra’s contribution the Idiot-NIF fund,” joked Anil Gupta, Honey Bee’s founder and a professor at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, after he heard the news.

The NIF now has 1.4 lakh inventions from 545 districts in its database. It’s generated 220 patent applications in India and one in the US. “Lots of innovations are now going to market,” said NIF’s Chief Innovation Officer Vipin Kumar, who received a call from Chopra’s unit on Tuesday. “As many as 50 technologies have been transferred to companies, and inventors are getting royalties, some up to 5% on sales.”

The stories of the inventors whose machines features in Chopra’s film mirror the adversity-derived chutzpah that has so endeared “Rancho” to India over the last six days:

Remya Jose (20), a pretty student from Kerala, created the exercycle-cum-washing-machine when her mother was ill and father had cancer. The Discovery Channel shot a video of her invention, now a YouTube hit.
Jehangir Painter (49), a painter from Maharashtra, put together a scooter-powered flour mill to relieve his wife from the tedium of waiting for wheat to be ground into flour through power cuts up to 10-hours long.
Mohammed Idris (32), a fifth-standard dropout and a barber from Uttar Pradesh, invented a cycle-powered horse clipper that pares equine hair in half the time that it takes hard-to-find electric shavers.

The Indian ability to innovate is not new and is exemplified by the word jugaad. It has no direct English translation but refers to the ability to engineer a solution to a problem.

NIF is India’s national effort to move backyard inventions discovered by the Honey Bee Network beyond the jugaad stage and into mainstream business.
It gets experts from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Indian Council of Medical Research mentor inventors.

Depending on the innovation and aptitude of the inventors, some win fellowships to national laboratories; others are routed to small and medium companies, who may offer royalties, exclusive or non-exclusive marketing rights, a share in profits or simple purchase of inventions, said Kumar, who is based in Ahmedabad.

Write Comment | E-Mail To a Friend | Facebook | Twitter | Print
Write your Comments on this Article
Your Name
Native Place / Place of Residence
Your E-mail
Your Comment
You have characters left.
Security Validation
Enter the characters in the image above