DuPont presents POWER OF SHUNYA: Challenge for zero

DuPont in association with ET NOW presents The Power of Shunya: Challenge for zero. 16 teams of innovators from around the country, but only one team can get to that grand prize.

Aug 27, 2014 06:08 IST India Infoline News Service

DuPont POWER OF SHUNYA: Challenge for zero: Season 2, Episode 1

 Gaurav Kapoor: Hello & Welcome season 2 of this fascinating series; DuPont Present the Power of Shunya; Challenge the zero. I am Gaurav Kapoor; this is a story about zero. Zero hunger, zero ambitions, zero malnutrition, zero accident and basically zero of everything that threatens to affect our daily lives. Now in every episode, two teams will battle it out here in this unique challenge for zero. Two innovations; two robust business plans to take those innovations to the market so that we live a Shunya life. So why is our good old zero, which other wisely, it’s a very non descript kind of life; suddenly so valuable? Well, this is why.

Shunya the origin, the point of reference, the value multiplier. Shunya, a digit and an aim. Can India achieve zero neo level deaths and zero malnutrition one day. Can Indian infrastructure in its race to build a new India achieve a zero carbon foot print? Can we ensure zero accidents for the rising skilled workers of the country? Can our farmers continue farming, zero risk with zero risks to their crops or their lives? Can we finally realize the dream of an India where we can generate enough energy with zero impact on the environment? India exported zero to the world, it’s time to bring it back to harness the power of Shunya. 

So that is the power of Shunya, the quest for a better world for you, for me, for all of us, for a better tomorrow for our glorious country. Well be told you the story last year as well, last season of course we had the best young minds from all the tech schools around the country and of course the bright young sparks from the B-Schools around the country, team up and fight to win this challenge for Zero.

Season 2: Inviting Innovations

Gaurav: Young innovators and B-school students from across the country applied for Power of Shunya, season 2 aspiring to be a part of the top 6 teams on challenge for zero. While the innovators had to prove their product’s strength in the context of the theme Shunya, each B-school participant had to analyze a complex case study and prove their business skills. Our knowledge partners for season 2 of challenge for zero were NIF, Shrishti, NEN and KSCST.

Anil Gupta, Executive Vice Chairman, National Innovation Foundation.

Anil Gupta:  Honey bee network has given tremendous visibility I mean we have visibility in 70 countries but when it comes to the segment of entrepreneurs, segment of mentors, segment of investors, segment of fabricators and manufacturers that is where power of Shunya has its strength, little extra strength I would say. So our strength and the strength of the power of Shunya of economic times can be put together and synergized. Then I don’t think anybody will be able to come in the way of these young entrepreneurs and technological innovators to go forward.

K Srikrishna, Executive Director, National Entrepreneurship Network.

K Srikrishna: This program was ability to leverage our reach in the market place and our relationship with the students. To the platform that ETNOW provides to try and marry these to have more innovations on campuses. So the way we have gone about it is leverage our field teams to reach out the students. We are engaged on these campuses with faculty with students with capacity that we build on these campuses. And what we have done for ET NOW is to try and shortlist promising start ups and promising ideas to funnel into the program.

MS Mohan Kumar, Secretary, Karnataka State Council for Science & Tech

MS Mohan Kumar: I personally see this as a platform where I think the new type of problems can be addressed new ideas can be crunched off and what probably student start they can’t achieve they can try it off. They may definitely achieve. If not they achieve they would have tried. I think that where I think, it sets a really a healthy competition across. And I think that where I feel that I should congratulate you people for giving such opportunities for all these youngsters to come out with their brilliant ideas.  

Gaurav: One month and 600 entries later it was time to call in the experts.Dr. Anil Wali, Managing Director, at the foundation of innovation and technology transfer, IIT Delhi and Dr. Ranjan Patnaik, Director of DuPont’s Knowledge Center, scanned through every single entry and drew up a list of top 60. The two experts then connected with the applicants over video and voice calls to finally uncover the best 16 ideas put to resolute.

Ranjan Patnaik, Director, DuPont Knowledge Center.

Ranjan Patnaik: We had a variety of exciting proposals and innovations and it was very diverse from agriculture to nutrition to energy. And if I were to reflect I would say, what caught my attention was one where a very localized solution of productive farming of paddy, few now transplantation machines being designed in some parts of India, to very sophisticated yet cost effective ways of using paper, electronics, telecommunications and other information technology to design planes, unmanned drones for that matter to scout areas where it is difficult to access with human beings. So that was the diversity of innovations ranging from a variety of fields.  

Anil Wali, MD, FITT-IIT Delhi.

Anil Wali: The power of Shunya program is an amazing program, championed by ETNOW and DuPont and where the underline theme is one of sustainability. So under that umbrella we had diverse kinds of ideas ranging from renewable materials, clean chemical processes, to innovations addressing the needs of the weak and the disadvantaged sections of the society. I repeat that since it was very diverse so we had a huge challenge to see that the really good ones make it to the top.

Gaurav: And to make sure, that there is never a dull moment here and that only the deserving ones win. We have a very exciting jury this year as well.


Homi Bhedwar, Regional Tech Director – Asia Pacific, DuPont.

Homi Bhedwar: The first season was really great. And I am hoping that the second season is going to be even better. You always want to top it and I find that every time we try to do these things. The bar always goes higher and so I am really looking forward to this second season with a lot of enthusiasm.

Nandini Vaidyanathan, CMD, CARMa Venture Services.

Nandini Vaidyanathan: I am completely chuffed that you guys invited me to be on the jury for this season. Chuffed because I always say this “innovators who become entrepreneurs should be self inspired.” There is a lovely word in Sanskrit “anterprerna” inspired from within. If you just remain an innovator a lab rat; nothing much happens. You know may be you do a paper out of it whatever. But with that innovation, you turn into an entrepreneur go to the market and create meaning in society then you qualify to be called self inspired. I am hoping to meet 16 young, keen, self inspired entrepreneurs.

Rajeev Karwal, Founder & CEO, Milagrow Business & Knowledge Solutions.

Rajeev Karwal: Last year itself, the bar was set really high. And the kind of innovations which had come up this year, I was sure that you know with last year’s popularity and this year’s number of entries increasing tremendously. I knew that the quality of innovation which would have come up would be very good.

Gaurav: We gonna slip into a quick break now. And when we come back, a quick look at the innovations that will drive season 2 of DuPont presents The Power of Shunya, Challenge for zero.


Gaurav: Welcome back, you were watching the curtain raiser of season 2 of DuPont presents the power of Shunya, Challenge for Zero. Now our innovators, they like quite a gem. They have had moment’s angst, they have had their trials, they have had their tribulations but they are here. They are here because they have dreams that refuse to die and the heart that refuses to give up.

Season 2: Innovation overview

Rajeev Ranjan, Innovator, D-Lite Ultra

Rajeev Ranjan: We have seen the recent reports in the newspapers. Lot of people died from food poisoning and also mid day meal case in Bihar in which pesticide container was used and it was very awful situation. At current, whatever the technologies available takes a lot of time in order to know the microbial content of a food. As well as the pesticides hazard model. My innovation would be able to tell to a common man that whether this food that he is consuming or she is consuming is safe to eat or not. Whether the water that they are drinking is safe to have or whether it has some kind of hazardous materials present in that, within a period of 10 to 15 minutes.

Rohan Paul, Innovator, Smart Cane

Rohan Paul: India has 12 million blind persons, largest for any country in the world. All of us has seen blind people carrying a white cane to detect obstacles on the ground, with a cane has important limitations, for example, it cannot detect things knee till head height. Say something like a horizontal bar, an open window in a corridor or side of vehicle cannot be detected. So once this problem was identified, we spend a lot of time with end-users, seeing how they move and what kind of challenges that they actually face. And that was the direct experience, observing users spending time with them, spending time with their families, which helps setup the context for this innovation, this process.   

Surojeet Das, Innovator, Injectible Silk Hydrogel

Surojeet Das: Every year around the world, there are millions of people who are suffering from damage or loss of tissues, organs due to certain accidents, injuries and diseases. There was a incident in 2011, that my father, he had a disease and there was talks that we may have to replace his urinary bladder. Fortunately, we did not require it by god’s grace, god saved. So that is what made me go into tissue interment.

Prakash Kodali, Innovator, Flexible Electronics

Prakash Kodali: This innovation name is integrated circuit based flexible devices and flexible displays. Here we are not using the lead to solder the components, optical components. We are using screen printing and mounting the components there. There we can improve the lifetime of LED, and it won’t harm any patient using this device.

Amlan Chakraborty, Innovator, Reviana

Amlan Chakraborty: What if in the morning you wake up, you open your refrigerator take out the milk and you start to boil and you get disappointed. The milk has got spoiled. That happened to me also once and I started realizing that why not develop something that can preserve milk even if I have not stored the milk or other dairy product in the refrigerator.

Srinadh Mattaparhi, Innovator, Bio-inspired multi- functional surfaces.

Srinadh Mattaparhi: One day it was a rainy season, I was shooting some of the flowers and different plants. It was like flowing droplets were falling here and there. By accidentally I found this plant, were the water droplet was freely rolling on the surfaces. The beauty of this plant is it shows super hydrophobic behavior. All through its major organs like petals, which are flower petals, leaves, as well as the seed pod. If you in nature some plant show super hydrophobic in nature, where the water droplet will be zearalenol. Then we got an idea that why can’t we make antireflective surfaces which are having multifunctional surface which adding for like super hydrophobic.

Vikas Karade, Innovator, XRay to 3D

Vikas Karade: When I was a B-tech at IIT Bombay, I was working in a project, which was related to medical instrumentation design. That is more of mechanical but uses medical knowledge. And that time Dr. Manish Agarwal, he used to sort of guide me or gave me feedback and that time he mentioned a very important problem of getting a 3D model from 2 dimensional X-ray. That time I ignored it because it’s mathematically impossible but when I came as a PHD, I wanted a different flavor of research. So I tried computer programming and stuff. I got into computer programming and I will got crumbs. And there I relooked that problem because it is very exciting, it is... It’s a world class problem; I mean everybody in the world is excited about this problem. So I thought let’s take it as a challenge.

Sanket Panchal, Innovator, Paddy Transplanter

Sanket Panchal: I want have my Indian farmers, so I develop the machine by my innovative ideas. A good friend of mine belongs to a family of farmers. So during the vacation time visited his farm. And I saw how tough it is for the farmers to plant the crops while bending. They are having a lower back problem. So I decided that invent this machine for them.
Nandini Bhandaru, Innovator, Nano Energy

Nandini Bhandaru: The most important problem that entire world is facing today is energy crisis. We all know that solar energy is the only solution for this crisis. But even now we don’t find houses with solar cells. The main problem is they are extremely costly. My innovation is termed as ultra low cost tunable nano scale patterns that is we can create nano scale to sub micron scale structures on polymeric film or surface. This innovation is basically a generic platform for fabrication of nano scale structures on any kind of material.

Ravi Kumar Arun, Innovator, Micro Paper Fuel Cell

Ravi Kumar Arun: My innovation is based on paper pencil based self pumping and self breathing fuel cell. With this paper pencil you can fabricate your own fuel cell, which can be a power source of disposable kits just like your pregnancy kits or malaria diagnosis and many other diagnostic kits, where we are using battery. This fuel can be an other alternative source.

Devlina Das, Innovator, Zeta Nano Purifier

Devlina Das: I have been here in Vellore, for the past 8 years. I think government has invested many crores just to pump out water and make it reachable to the people of Vellore as potable water. Yet there is a serious problem arising from the quality of the water which is available. So just not the water is scares but also it is extremely polluted for the people. There are new generation purifiers available today, may be they are very cost effective but that’s not enough. They may not be able to deal with the polluted level and a wide spectrum of pollutants that contaminate the water in Vellore. Zeta is actually a zinc oxide nano particle which has been modified by an amine. I would unlist the major features of Zeta, for example its marvelous ability to remove the ways an ionic like in bionic moieties, heavy metal removal, removal of dyes and pesticides all the chemicals. Apart from that it is highly flexible for example; we have worked out three different varieties of zeta. Powder form, membrane form, and the cytosine bit form. Apart from that we can merge zeta with an already existing low cost conventional technology, most likely activated carbon. Which is neither harmful for the environment and nor it has any disposability issues.

B Madhan Kumar, Innovator, Paper plane UAV

B Madhan Kumar: My innovation is a paper plane unmanned aerial vehicle. It is an avionics system which is fixed inside a paper plane. In my paper plane I have installed a receiver circuit and a thermal sensor or even blue tooth enabled camera. In that I have made up lithium phosphate fueled cells. So it is completely economic friendly and I have used a tail rotor. Which for clock wise direction to turn right and for anti clock wise direction it will turn left. It is called mass pivoting system.

Ramchander Chepyala, Innovator, Vrana Vani

Ramchander Chepyala: Every year nearly 6 to 7 lakhs people are killed just because of friendly diagnosis in the cancer. And every year nearly 1 million cases have been registered in the country. So there is an urgent need of devices otherwise immune sensors, which can detect by these devices in early stages, so that we can save many lives. Micro fluidity is the handling the samples which are in small quantities, and immuno sensor is the device which can use these anti- bodies to detect the diseases. It has a qualities of portability, low cost and easy to handle. And it does not require any technical expertise to handle this device.  

S Sivagurunathapandian, Innovator, Wi-Met

S Sivagurunathapandian: We have decided to work on a project where it should be useful for the society and to our country actually. For this we have approached for Kalpakam. So they have said that these are the problems which they face over there and we have given the solution for them. Actually what is the problem is like the each and every person who is working inside the field will be facing some communication problem like, it is a secured environment where they working so they want a wireless communication which cannot be tapped.

Kumar Vivek, Innovator, Paddy Crop Curator

Kumar Vivek : I was working on a previous project called e-money and the way I was continuously interaction with the farmers and I got to know that, there  not only the price money that they are suffering from, there are also some problem with the pesticides and fertilizers they should use and in how much quantity they should use. So I talked with the farmers and come up with the paddy grain and disease finder app which uses a leaf coloration technique and determines the nitrogen content and appropriate pesticides and fertilizers in what quantity they should use.
Vivek Pandey, Innovator, Micro Cold Storage

Vivek Pandey: We as a team of engineers found out that there is a lot of problems that is plaguing Indian agriculture and one of the single largest problems is post harvest management. The reason for this is lack of electricity in rural areas due to which farmers lose out a lot. Further these problems were really highlighted in media but there was nothing that was being done to solve this. So we are one of the 1st movers to solve the problem. 

Gaurav: So here they are 16 innovations. 16 master pieces of these ingenious minds was striving to achieve Shunya. To make our country a better place to live in. How do you get the winner in each episode? This is how. Now through a random number generator we will pick up two teams in every episode, totally random selection. Now these teams will showcase their innovations and a business plan to support the innovation to our jury. Now each team will be marked on a liked scale from 1 to 5 points ranging from very bad to very good by each of our jury members. Following parameters will be judged on:


Gaurav:  Now each jury member’s score will then be aggregated on a 100 point scale to arrive at a winner for each episode. Now every team score will get a place in the series leader board and the top 2 teams on the leader board will then meet in the grand finale. Now after all the grind and sweat they take home this beautiful rolling challenge for zero trophy, a gift cheque for Rs. 10 lakhs and yes there are some experiences as I told you before that even money can’t buy. The all expense paid trip to DuPont’s global head quarters in the United States. This is the battle ground where for the next 9 weeks our innovators will strive, compete, hopefully, emerge triumphant. Our hunt for Shunya starts right here, next week. So, till we meet good bye and keep the power of Shunya alive in you. 

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