A 30-year-old scientist, a youth icon, a chronic inventor, and a college drop-out, working on creating the innovative ecosystem in India!
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
From a school hater to college dropout, Anirudh Sharma, a young scientist hailing from Indian family has been running an innovation lab that designs high impact finished Tech. systems, IP and deploy them into the real world with strategic partnerships is breaking barriers and contributing to the society to make it a better place to live in. According to Sharma, “In India, there are so many problems around you. Either you crib about them or say let’s solve them, let’s do something about it. There’s a big opportunity here.”
“We rob the child of this earth to teach him geography; of language, to teach him grammar; His hunger is for the epic, (but) he is supplied with chronicles of facts and dates” - Rabindranath Tagore
Anirudh was an enthusiast right from his childhood. He used to dislike the conventional school system. However, after finishing schooling he set up a small animation studio where he could prepare for his engineering entrance examinations. He even got admitted to an engineering college in Rajasthan but he dropped out in 2009 as he was concentrating more on his innovation project of large interactive displays that won him awards by then. He never looked back then.
He was invited by the Imagine Group at Hewlett Packard for an internship in Bengaluru. And he worked for HP on an open-source speech+ touch-based CAD interface for large displays. The prototype ‘Mozart’ is a permanent installation at HP Innovation Center of Zurich and Dubai.
Journey to Success
He started a DIY project that came to focus as Lechal shoe project, and co-founded Ducere Technologies Pvt. Ltd. in 2011 and designed haptic footwear for the visually impaired (Lechal) to the market that soon became a talk in the scientist’s club. Lechal now has 100 employees initiated a team of two. The same won him MIT TR35 –‘Innovator of year’ award.
Soon he was offered to pursue Master’s degree at MIT Media Lab in 2012. He grabbed the opportunity and graduated from the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT Media Lab, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he worked on ‘Augmented Reality/2D/3D using transparent OLED displays’.
After passing out he chose the other way and rejected the thought of joining a well-paid job in San Francisco. Instead, he set up a research lab in India. He has co-led the MIT Media Lab India Initiative (2013-2015). The initiative focuses on anti-disciplinary research is focussed to bring the best of scientists, engineers, designers, artists on the same platform and hence invent and innovate across disciplines. Currently, they are working on re-purposing air pollution into industrial-grade printing ink.
Anirudh’s story depicts that you may not like to study within closed chambers till you have the zeal and passion to grow, you really can make it big. Never feel defeated and move on with the zeal that you are blessed with.
“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow.” - Bertrand Russell