5 Inventions from India That Can Change the World

India is no stranger to innovation.

May 20, 2015

India is home to out-of-the-box inventions that are posed to help citizens across the globe.

As the second most populous country in the world, India is teeming with creativity and innovation. Indeed, it was in India that the cataract surgery was first performed, and also where the concept of zero originated. With a focus on the here and now, this list highlights five out-of-the-box inventions that are posed to help citizens across the globe. This selection represents the tip of the iceberg - if you know of more modern-day inventions from India, please share them with us in the comments section below.

1. GREEN LIVING – STREETS MADE OF PLASTIC

Like many countries, India grapples with an excess of plastic waste. Chemistry professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan devised a way to transform common plastic litter into a substitute for bitumen — the main ingredient in asphalt used for road construction. Known as the “Plastic Man,” Vasudevan’s ingenious invention has already paved 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) of plastic thoroughfares in at least 11 Indian states.

Streets of plastic. [Image by Rajagopalan Vasudevan]

2. EDUCATION – CARDBOARD BOXES TRANSFORMED INTO DESKS

In rural India, resources are limited and schools are particularly affected. Most students do not have proper desks, making learning more difficult -contributing to poor eyesight and posture. Marketing company DDB India and the nonprofit Aarambh came up with a creative solution called Help Desk. Made from discarded carton, the cardboard desk doubles as a brief-case like school bag and costs only 20 rupees to produce. The Help Desks are making significant difference in student’s lives and are easy to export to other countries in need.

The multi-purpose recyclable desk. [Screenshot]

3. SPEECH AND LANGUAGE – BREATHING TRANSLATES TO SPOKEN COMMUNICATION

At the age of 16, Arsh Shah Dilbagi came up with a revolutionary invention that has the potential to change the lives of people with developmental disabilities and speech impairments. TALK is an AAC – augmentative and alternative communication device - that converts breaths into synthesized sentences or speak-out commands and phrases. His patent-pending technology got the attention of the world - Dilbagi was a finalist at the Google 2014 Science Fair and the portable invention will hopefully be on the market in the near future.

Young Dilbagi with his TALK invention. [Screenshot]

4. UNIVERSE – DISCOVERING MARS

The Indian Space Research Organization set its sights on Mars with the Mangalyaan spacecraft, which went into orbit around the Red Planet on September 24, 2014. The Mangalyaan provides important information about Mars with exploration of the planet’s surface and atmosphere.

A picture of the Mangalyaan orbiting Mars. [Wikipedia]

5. SIGHT AND MOVEMENT – SHOES THAT MOBILIZE THE VISUALLY-IMPAIRED

Haptic technology uses vibration force or movement to communicate via the sense of touch, and is the backbone of Lechal shoes. Nestled in the insole, Lechal’s technology guides users with a series of vibrations that indicates which direction to walk. These special shoes allow visually impaired people to move around with confidence and security as their shoes and programmed GPS technology will take them to their desired destination. As an added bonus, for every purchase of a pair of LECHAL footwear, the cost of the insoles will be subsidized for a visually-challenged individual.

These insoles allow visually-impaired individuals complete mobility. [Screenshot]

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