Technology Innovations

Archive for the ‘May’ Category

A lot of businesses today offer services that require customers to sign up online, and as the customer base grows, managing their billing becomes a tougher task for enterprises.

Now businesses can focus on providing products or services without the hassle of managing their online subscriptions. Chennai-based startup, Chargebee, has developed software tools targeted at small and medium businesses to manage recurring subscription payments. The new software is off-the-shelf plug-and-play billing tool that’s delivered on the cloud. You can connect with ChargeBee via API (application programming interface) if you are technically inclined or use PCI-compliant hosted payment pages to collect payments, and go live in a matter of minutes.

ChargeBee says it provides a robust and flexible billing system to enable enterpises run special promotions as well as to bill accurately and respond faster for billing queries. It also helps collect payments online. Read more in a detailed interview by Srinivas Kulkarni.

Co-founded by Sahil Sahni, an engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology with a doctorate from MIT, LinkCycle is a startup aimed at helping manufacturers reduce energy waste. The company has five customers, including Rubbermaid, which found $1 million in savings using LinkCycle’s software.

LinkCycle’s software allows plant managers the ability to walk through their facility with an iPad and identify how energy is flowing through machines. At the same time, customers can also view opportunities to reduce production costs. The software, which can cut costs in scheduling, machine utilization, process control and equipment upgrades, also has tabs for historical costs and future costs. Read more

Besides sharing images of characters from their favourite shows, or photographs of places, now here’s a new platform for users of social media to share their photographs and opinions on clothing, accessories and food.

A Bangalore-based company, founded by Arjun Zacharia, Praveen Rajaretnam, Soumen Sarkar and Ankit Sabharwal, former employees of McAfee, has launched Wooplr as a social discovery platform for users who wish to share their images of finds and bargains from local stores.

Wooplr is about helping people discover products from brick-and-mortar stores or flea-market brands — those we might not ever hear of if someone didn’t tell us about them. Currently, there is no platform where Indian shoppers can find genuine shopping/eating recommendations with visuals and share their shopping finds or find out what their friends are buying and from where, says Rajaretnam.

When a Wooplr user sees an attractive piece of clothing or a stylish accessory, s/he tags a photo of it on the platform, with a note on where the item was purchased and for how much. This allows those with similar tastes to take notes for their next shopping trip. Read more in this news report by Shrabonti Bagchi on why do users need something like this when there already are so many social media platforms for sharing visual content.

Almost 100,000 children in India die every year of painful viral diarrhoea caused by the Rota virus. Seemingly innocuous, these viruses that mainly affect children are a nightmare for every parent.

But now Indian scientists from Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, have developed a new oral vaccine against the Rota virus. If given in three doses, it can prevent children from a type of diarrhoea where both vomiting and loose motion can severely dehydrate children quickly.

Announcing the results, K Vijayraghavan, the Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, said: “The vaccine reduced severe Rota virus diarrhoea by more than 56 percent during first year of life, with protection continuing into the second year of life. Moreover, the vaccine also showed impact against severe diarrhoea of any cause.”

The vaccine was first identified by researchers at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi way back in 1985. Since then, with over $100 million in funding including that from the Indian government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it is now ready for use in children as soon as the regulatory approvals come through.

Experts have estimated that India spends almost Rs. 400 million every year in hospitalizations due to the the Rota virus infection. Bharat Biotech says it can sell it for under Rs. 50 a dose for children. Read more in this NDTV report.

Zack Chia

Screen shot 2013-05-19 at PM 12.19.20


This is really a cool idea that would help in avoiding a collision. In an effort to reduce physical traffic signage and accidents, light show company Laservision are experimenting using a sheet of water with light laser projecting on it. This is done up at the Sydney Harbour Tunnel with more available in the city as well. The good thing about having such signage is the fact that it literally catches your attention. If the driver fails to notice it, he could still drive through it without heading into a collision. These pop-up signs has started off since 2007 and has therefore successfully prevented vehicles from turning into unintended traffic. I could see more of this being used in other parts of the world. In Singapore water sheet projection is used primarily for visual aesthetics. One example is the foundation of wealth in Suntec city where people had their…

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A team of students from India recently won the US $60,000 grand prize at the Dell Social Innovation Challenge (DSIC 2013) for its project, Solar Conduction Dryer. The winning team comprised two Indian students, Shital Somani and Vaibhav Tidke from Mumbai.

Their project aims at addressing the 20-30 percent food spoilage rate for poor rural Indian farmers via cost-effective dehydrators powered by solar conduction. The innovation will enable farmers to keep more of their crops and sell dehydrated fruits and vegetables as another income source. Read more

Sumit Dagar, a graduate from the National Institute of Design (NID), is developing the world’s first smartphone for the blind. The phone will have a unique and unconventional screen featuring Braille, to aid the visually impaired.

The phone has pins on the screen, which surface up on the display and go down depending on the user’s choices. Something known as Shape Memory Alloy technology is being used which works on the simple logic that metals revert to their original shape after being pressed. Braille patterns will be formed with the pins, helping blind users comprehend with touch.

The idea is being funded by Rolex Awards, which funds five talented innovators once in two years under its Young Laureates Programme. Read more

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