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Two Indian-American scientists make it to Popular Science's Brilliant Ten list

world Updated: Sep 19, 2014 00:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Two Indian-American scientists have been named by Popular Science magazine in its Brilliant Ten list of 2014 which honours America's "brightest young minds reshaping science, engineering, and the world".

Prabal Dutta, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at University of Michigan, and Manu Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, are among the 10 who made it to this year's list.

Popular Science identified these 10 "most inspired young scientists and engineers—researchers whose ideas will transform the future" after a six-month selection process.

Dutta was selected for creating tiny sensors that can harvest energy from their surroundings - from the light in a room, the magnetic field around an electrical wire, or the heat from a shower head - so that they can run forever, ushering in the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things refers to connected computing systems embedded in the physical world—things like medical implants and smart thermostats, FitBits and even smartphones.

"Of course, it's an honor," said Dutta after being chosen by Popular Science.

"But really, awards like this motivate you to live up to the expectations," he added.

Stanford's Prakash was chosen for two low-cost scientific tools made from everyday materials.

He designed a pocket-size paper microscope that is powerful enough to detect a malaria parasite, African sleeping sickness and Chagas in a drop of blood and costs just 50 cents.

The second was a $5 programmable children’s chemistry set, inspired by hand-cranked music boxes. This low-cost device can be used to test water quality, to provide affordable medical diagnostic tests, or to design chemistry experiments in schools.

“We are going to make them very widely available and let other people build their own apps on top,” he told Popular Science.

"Scientific tools have been built and designed and kept in the silos of universities," says Prakash, who wants to bring them to the masses.