Indian Inventors Create Wearable Tech Designed to Help the Blind

 

We’ve all probably had days where we weren’t paying attention while walking and, in the blink of an eye, accidentally took a spill or dive. I can think of multiple occasions where I’ve crashed into inanimate objects like poles or doors while walking and texting. Every time this happens, I’m left resisting the urge to scream bloody murder at the creators of all technology.

Does this sound like you, too? Well, while it’s easy to blame our devices for misguiding us in our paths, we think that this new line of interactive haptic (of or relating to the sense of touch) smart shoes designed by Indian inventors Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Shram proves that technology is not always the devil, and can be used for worthwhile purposes. Perhaps they’ll change your mind as well.

Lechal (translating to “take me there” in Hindi), the brand name of the shoes, were initially designed to help the visually-impaired with navigation. The designers told Mashable, an Indian magazine, “People who are visually challenged rely heavily on their sense of hearing to acquaint themselves with the environment and may find audio feedback a major distraction.” With the shoes, they can instantly find their way through a buzzing sensation on either the right foot or left foot which signifies which way to turn.

But as the video below shows us, it really is for everyone, especially those who enjoy running. The shoes keep track of how many steps it took to get to your location, as well as the number of calories burned. How does it work? The shoes contain a module that can wirelessly connect to an app you can download on your phone. Through the app, the user enters his or her destination. As soon as he or she begins walking, the sensors will then send a vibration to signal a turn for the user.

 

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Watch the ad for Lechal below:

 

 

Rise of Anti-Rape Clothing in India Receives Criticism

 

India has seen an influx of “anti-rape clothing” over recent years. Although this has created quite some controversy, people across the country are desperately trying to create anything that could hinder unwanted advances.

“The harassment of the girl in Delhi was the turning point for all to realize that we need to take a step against this menace,” 21-year-old Manisha Mohan, who co-created an anti-rape bra, told Vetunotech, referring to the infamous New Delhi gang rape in 2012, where a 23-year-old student was brutally raped, tortured and killed on a public bus. Since then, there have been a number of efforts to create strict measures against rape. New anti-rape laws have been passed by the Indian government, including the death penalty for repeat offenders.

 

 

Despite these efforts, rape continues to be a horrifying reality to many Indian women. Earlier this year, a 20-year-old woman was gang raped by 13 men in her rural village as punishment for having a relationship with a man from a different community. In another incident, 10 men were arrested for gang raping a 21-year-old woman. Even more shocking, a 7-year-old girl was raped and hanged.

But relying on politicians and government officials have often been fruitless. One police official compared rape to gambling and said if you can’t prevent it, you enjoy it. Later, a female politician claimed rape occurs when women act and dress inappropriately. Needless to say, many citizens felt like they needed to take measures into their own hands.

This is why three Indian engineering students created the anti-rape bra called SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment). According to NBC News, the bra “delivers a strong electric shock to potential rapists and attackers, and also has the ability to send an alert text message to the wearer’s friends and family.” There are also college students from the city of Varanasi who have created a line of anti-rape jeans. According to Daily Mail, the jeans “contain an electronic tracker that will send a distress signal to the nearest police station when pressed.” And this doesn’t even cover the anti-rape wrist watches and jackets.

 

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Anti-rape watch. Photo courtesy of http://ibnlive.in.com/

 

Anti-rape jeans.

Anti-rape jeans.

 

Obviously, anti-rape clothing was created with nothing but good intentions, however, many are questioning whether or not it would actually work.

“In India, most of the rapes happen within the family,” said Indian journalist Sonia Faleiro. “It happens behind the closed door. These people aren’t going to stop what they are doing because of a piece of clothing.” Furthermore, Faleiro pointed out that girls still live in fear and anti-rape clothing is just a bandaid to the big issue.

Faleiro certainly brings up good points. This issue won’t be solved with bandaid solutions alone, and women shouldn’t have to live in fear or wear outrageous clothing. Women and victims are not responsible for rape and they should not be the only ones taking measures to prevent it.

However, I still believe it is a step in creating change and most importantly, it has people talking about an issue that needs to be discussed. On certain occasions, these devices let women feel safe and give men the message that a lack of consent is not OK.

Tell us what you think.

 

How This Indian Food Delivery Business Is Giving McDonald’s A Run For Its Money

 

For those of you who are 20-something, I’m going to take a wild guess that you are probably pretty acquainted with, and perhaps even on first name basis with, the guys that run the fast food chains closest to your office. And hey, no one’s judging you — on busy work days, In-N-Out drive-through is the ideal solution to satisfy your hunger needs.

But let’s all be real here — not even the juiciest of bacon cheese hamburgers will ever match up to Mom’s homemade fried rice, with just the perfect ratio of rice, meat, eggs, green onions and spices. Oh, look at that, I’m already drooling.

Some 500,000 Indian men from Mumbai, who are nicknamed the “dabbawalas,” came up with a brilliant solution so that hard workers in the city could both save the money they would have spent on eating out and have home cooked meals made by their loving wives or mothers — delivered straight to their schools and offices.

 

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Of course, this delivery service comes with a price for the dabbawalas. Every morning, these half a million men first travel house-to-house to pick up the steaming hot tiffins (tins that store the food), which they then transport all over the city on their bikes, through the blazing heat and maddening traffic. Collectively, they pick up and deliver around 200,000 meals a day.

 

With so many different moving parts involved in this system, it can get pretty messy. So along with all the food, the families and the delivery people, there is also a code system. By now, the dabbawalas say they have it all imprinted in their minds, so they know the exact location of where each tiffin goes.

 

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According to NBC, their system is so efficient that they have a “six sigma level of efficiency,” equating to “making one mistake per every six million deliveries.” Even with odds like that though, the dabbawalas have admitted that there have been mistakes where tiffins were given to the wrong people who sometimes lack the courtesy and eat the home cooked meal given to them anyway.

Despite all the hurdles these men jump through on a day-to-day basis, Pawan Agarwal, head of the Mumbai Dabbawala, said of his colleagues, “It’s hard work, no doubt about it … But they feel that serving food is serving God so they feel happy to do this business.”

Another dabbawala worker also spoke up on how their business remains so successful. “Many people in this city prefer their lunch fresh, prepared lovingly by their wives or mothers,” he said, adding that despite the many restaurants cropping up all over the city, the business has been continuing to grow 5 to 10 percent every year.

Take that, McDonald’s.

 

This Powerful Video Will Make You Think Twice About What It Truly Means To Give

 

Sam Pepper, a YouTube personality and self-acclaimed prankster, recently conducted a social experiment that will truly change the way we think about life. In a minute and 28 seconds, he was able to capture both the harsh reality of human nature and the unexpected kindness of a homeless man.

After his video was released, Trouble Seeker Team — a group of pranksters in India — watched the footage and was so moved by the act that they too decided to conduct the same exact experiment in their hometown. The results of the experiment were the same as Pepper’s and were just as moving.

Watch Trouble Seeker Team’s video below:

 

 

And here is the original video conducted by Sam Pepper:

 

Indian Arranged Marriages Meets Online Dating

It’s no secret that, even in this day and age, arranged marriages still exist. In fact, this tradition remains to be a very big part of Indian culture.

But there’s also no denying that the whole concept of an arranged marriage receives plenty of criticism. Some argue that marriage should be about love. Others point out the domestic violence rates in arranged marriages. Even more admit to feeling uncomfortable about the idea of people being forced. Simply put, many believe that this is a thing of the past and question how such an old tradition can survive in such a new age world.

Well, four Harvard Business School graduates seems to have come up with an answer to that. They realized that, for some families, the tradition of arranged marriages was not leaving any time soon. Well, if they wouldn’t budge, then this “new age” would be brought to them.

Hence the creation of a new website called easyBIOdata.

Anyone who is familiar with online dating will recognize the structure of easyBIOdata. Similar to other online sites, the website allows you to set up a profile which includes details such as height, skin tone, academic achievements, career and details about your family. The only difference? This profile is also meant to be viewed by parents and family members to get to know prospective partners for their children.

“We call the [biodata] a résumé for marriage, essentially,” co-founder Allyson Pritchett explained to NBC News. “It’s the first impression people get to make on the person they are hopefully going to be with forever.”

Although the website successfully scored fourth place in a course-wide competition, news of this website is being met with a lot of criticism. One commenter pointed out that the whole process felt like a job application.

The site’s founders disagree. In fact, easyBIOdata is described as “a free, user-friendly platform, dedicated to creating professional-quality biodata profiles for prospective brides and grooms.” To be honest, that sounds like any other online dating site description.

Furthermore, the creators are discovering that many of the young adults are actually using the site themselves rather than their parents and relatives. These young adults admit that they struggle to find a partner that their parents would approve of while living outside of India. This site gives them access to those who also face this struggle.

“As we got into it, we realized that it’s young people that are using it. With easyBiodata, they can create their own profiles but they’ll still choose to put their parents’ contact info on the form to keep them involved,” one of the founders, Yu Kakitsubo, said. “Our service is something that’s in between the traditional and the new.”

Check out the profile examples below and tell us what you think.

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(Source)

India’s Inspiring One Legged Dancer

There are many reasons to be inspired by 27-year-old Subhreet Kaur Ghumman. Aside from her high spirits and willingness to overcome any adversary thrown her way, Subhreet has become an online sensation as well as an inspiration to many for her one legged dancing abilities.

It all started on the 21st of October 2009 when Subhreet experienced a life-changing accident. While riding on the back of a friend’s moped, the former nurse was thrown off the bike during a sharp turn. Subhreet was sent to the hospital with a fractured knee, but the local government hospital left her lying in a bed for over two weeks.

“The negligence in a basic government hospital is terrible,” Subhreet recalls. “My mum begged doctors to treat me, but they just put my leg in a brace and left me. They didn’t even attempt to treat my fracture.”

After 15 days, Subhreet eventually got surgery, but Dailymail reports “a doctor cut a vital vein and Subhreet began to bleed uncontrollably.”


Subhreet’s condition worsened and infection spread throughout her leg. The pain was so unbearable, Subhreet begged to have her leg cut off. It took the family an entire year to find a doctor who would help them.

Following the operation, Subhreet recalls having tears of joy. “When I woke after the operation tears filled my eyes out of pure happiness. That feeling of not having a lifeless leg was amazing.”

Subhreet then went on to do the amazing. Rather than allow her disability to hinder her, she decided to show strength. “I decided not to fall into darkness but show the world that I was a strong person and continue my passion for dance,” she said. “My mother was shocked but happily agreed to support me.”

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She enrolled in a dance academy and eventually found herself auditioning for India’s Got Talent. Her performances wowed the audience, gave her a standing ovation from the judges, and brought her all the way to the final round of the competition.

“Though, I lost the competition with a small margin of votes, but still I am very happy with my performance,” Subhreet told the Hindustan Times. “It is like my dream having come true, and I have proved that only self-confidence is enough to achieve any aim in life in spite of physical shortcomings.”

“My life has changed completely,” she added. “I have seen the darkest days but now everything seems beautiful. People recognise me when I go out, they ask me for photographs and autographs. It is an amazing feeling.”


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(Source 1, 2)

India’s Very First Street Art Festival Looks Amazing

Some exciting news from the streets of Dehli!

India is showcasing what is being called “India’s First Street Art Festival” in the south Delhi neighborhood of Shahpur Jat. This past spring, the neighborhood hosted a number of local and international artists to paint the walls of their city.

According to Huffington Post, the project was possible with the help of artists, professionals, art school students, and those who joined the Goethe-Institut and the Italian and Polish cultural institutes in Delhi.

“With volunteers, supplies, and a lot of community outreach, the event organizers were able to bring the artists and help get walls for them– an effort which took about a year and a half of serious planning to bring to fruition.”

The project began by asking permission from the locals and wall owners. Because the idea of street art was very new to the netizens, some were confused and even irritated with what was going on.

Thankfully, even more people were intrigued by the idea of street art.

“Once we started, there was so much noise about what was happening,” one artist commented. “People were always looking after you, and looking for you. There were people always around you. There was this kid that would come by almost everyday, just standing there, talking to you about your work.. So there was a bit of buzz around here.”

Soon, the neighborhood began embracing the art popping up on their walls. One artist pointed out that confusion turned into happiness that their neighborhood was helping to build the culture of street art.

Among the various murals set up, there is a portrait of a strong woman which aims to empower Indian woman. The artist notes that the painting represents respect, security and the message that they should be free.

Even more impressive was a piece on the Delhi Police Headquarters. This work, which is the tallest one of the 75 pieces created around Delhi, is a portrait of Gandhi that measures 150 by 38 feet.

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Images courtesy of  © Akshat Nauriyal & © BrooklynStreetArt.com
(Source)

Bollywood Actress Sonam Kapoor Talks Homosexuality on the Big Screen

The beautiful Sonam Kapoor is known for a number of achievements. She is a famous model and Bollywood actress, she is known as the daughter of Indian actor and producer Anil Kapoor, and at the age of 28, she has over a dozen films under her belt as well as a number of award nominations in recognition of her talent.

As it turns out, Kapoor should also be known for her strong opinions and ability to stand up for what she believes in. She demonstrated this while in Cannes as an ambassador for the beauty brand L’Oreal.

During interviews, Kapoor discussed her disapproval of India’s laws on homosexuality. Last year, India’s Supreme Court put a ban on gay sex. On December 2013, their Supreme Court reenacted Section 377 of India’s Penal Code, which states, “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Kapoor argued that India’s legal stance on homosexuality does not align with their cultural stance which accepts homosexuality. How does she think India can combat this law? Through the big screen.

Kapoor discussed last year’s Palme d’or winner, “Blue is the Warmest Color,” which is a lesbian love story. Kapoor voiced that having gay love stories on film would help her country become more open to the idea of homosexuality.

“We’ve regressed instead of progressing,” she said. “I think movies can influence the way people think sometimes and if we do start making love stories or we start making movies about people who are amazing human beings, people who have done something in life, people who are inspirational who aren’t necessarily only straight, I think people will start appreciating them more,” she said. “So yeah, I think we need to expose India a little bit more so we should make more movies about them.”

 

(source)

 

MUST-SEE: Google Glass Used to Create Touching Video

Get your tissues ready. Directed by Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian, the short film called “Seeds” is made entirely using a Google Glass.

For those unfamiliar with the device, Google Glass is worn like any other pair of glasses. It has an optical head-mounted display and allows wearers to communicate with the Internet though voice commands. Aside from it’s impressive LED display and touchpad, Google Glass also comes with a camera that allows users to take pictures and capture video. It was through this method that “Seeds” was created. 

The short follows the 23-year-old filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty as he travels to India and teases viewers with a mysterious manilla envelope. According to Mashable, the video was shot over the course of 10 days in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo and India. 

Thus far, Google Glass has received quite a bit of criticism and has been questioned as an invasion of privacy. This short aims to highlight the benefits of Google Glass. In this case, “Seeds” shows how the device can capture beautiful and touching moments.

Check out the must-see video below.

 

Controversy in India: Politician Believes Women Who Have Premarital Sex Should Be Hanged

The infamous New Delhi Gang Rape of 2012 horrified the world. Since then, India has put forth a number efforts to create strict measures against rape. Unfortunately, incidents of rape continue despite these efforts.

Earlier this year, a 20-year-old woman was gang raped by 13 men in her rural village in eastern India as punishment for having a relationship with a man from a different community. Last year, ten men were arrested for gang raping a 21-year-old woman. Even more shocking, a 7-year-old girl was raped inside a state-run school in the Indian capital.

Many netizens are now pointing a finger to politicians who appear to be making matters worse.

Abu Azmi, of India’s Socialist Party, recently claimed that women who engage in premarital sex should be sentenced to death. If this isn’t jarring enough, he claimed that women should receive this sentence even if they were raped.

“If rape happens with or without consent, it should be punished as prescribed in Islam,” Azmi said. “The solution is this: Any woman, whether married or unmarried, who goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent.”

As expected, thousand of people reacted in anger. Over 11,000 Twitter comments were made against Azmi’s statement. In fact, even Azmi’s daughter-in-law spoke out. Bollywood actress Ayesha Takia tweeted, “if wot im reading about my father in laws statements r true then me and Farhan are deeply embarrassed n ashamed…(sic).”

An Indian demonstrator-1508932

 

Since making the statement, Azmi has tried to clarify his words. “I never said that the girl who is raped should be punished. I said rapist should be punished and girl is a victim. I said that all of us should show solidarity with the girl,” Mr Azmi said in Mumbai. “I will never make such statement, only a mad person will say such things,” he added.

Unfortunately, the public is not buying it. Azmi joins a list of politicians who have received heat for their inappropriate comments concerning rape.

Late last year, Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha faced public outrage because of his inappropriate comment. Sinha compared gambling and rape by stating,”If you can’t enforce it, it is like you can’t prevent rape, enjoy it.”

Months later, female politician Asha Mirje claimed that rape occurs when women act and dress inappropriately. She stated that women needed to be more mindful of whether or not they were “inviting” sexual assault.

All these politicians have tried to retract their statement after public outrage. As you can expect, their apologies have not been accepted.

(Source 1, 2)