Ramesh Raskar, an India-born scientist, has been awarded $5,00,000 prize for his innovation. This is one of the world’s highest single cash awards offered to innovators.
The annual Lemelson-MIT prize, awarded by the School of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), honours innovators from the US who are in their mid-career and are trying to improve the world through science and technology.
An associate professor at MIT’s media lab, Mr. Raskar is known for his groundbreaking co-invention of ultra-fast imaging camera that can see around corners, low-cost eye-care solutions and a camera that enables users to read the first few pages of a book without opening the cover.
Mr. Raskar, originally hailing from Nashik, stays regularly connected to his native land in spite of living in the US. When his hometown hosted the Kumbh Mela in 2015, he had collaborated with other innovators to launch special innovation camps called Kumbhathons. It was aimed to incubate ideas for the development of smart cities in India, providing solutions for housing, sanitation, and transportation to pilgrims in the festival.
That effort evolved into Digital Impact Square, or DISQ, an online platform and open lab in Nashik to encourage innovation. Mr. Raskar is planning to use the part of the prize money to help young inventors innovate in multiple countries.
The award has been given in past to some great minds like Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the computer mouse; biologist Leroy Hood and Nick Holonyak, inventor of the light-emitting diode, or LED.