US Expert Lauds Kerala’s Startup Products at IEDC

Sherry Lassiter-web

Kottayam: The Bandicoot robot that young engineers of Kerala have developed early this year can prove to be of use not only in India but globally for cleaning manholes and sewers with precision, a top innovator from the US said here the other day.

The spider-shaped machine that had its trial done in Thiruvananthapuram has immense potential to compete at the international level, said Sherry Lassiter, Professor, MIT, who is president of the American non-profit organisation Fab Foundation, at a conclave of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (IEDC) near Kanjirappally in the district.

“The next big thing in the global market will be products that come out of small inventions from developing countries such as India,” she noted on the sidelines of the day-long event organised by the Kerala Startup Mission and attended by 4,000 students keen to enhance their innovative skills, network, share ideas and form tech teams to launch businesses.

Noting that inventions that look silly keep proving to be highly beneficial to local communities, Lassiter said India has constantly proven the use of equipment and tools from the grassroots. Such items have made it big across continents, she said at the IEDC meet that also featured a Maker Fest which was inaugurated by M Sivasankar IAS, Secretary, IT and Electronics, Kerala Government.

Lassiter, as a key architect of the MIT global initiative for field onsite technology development, said Kerala had a huge talent pool in startup, going by the high quality of the models the students exhibited at the Maker Fest. “The Fab Lab’s own policy is ‘Hello World’,” noted the expert, whose foundation works with 70-plus startup firms in various countries.

All projects should benefit society, Lassiter added.