Meet Gully Boy Turned Scientist Who Made it to The Entrepreneur India's 35U35 List
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Blenders Pride Reserve Collection presents Entrepreneur's 35U35 list included some path-breaking names from the field of entrepreneurship and Faridabad-based Roopam Sharma made it to the list owing to the intelligent werables he is creating to help the visually impaired read printed texts in real time.
Becoming a scientist was never in the cards for Faridabad-based Roopam Sharma. The 23-year-old says, “I lived a very normal childhood. While my first half of the day was usually consumed at school, the latter half mostly went into playing sports in the nearby residential blocks.”
Belonging to a bourgeois family, Roopam calls himself a first generation college goer. He says, “My parents made a lot of sacrifices for me and my siblings. The primary intent behind opting for engineering was solely monetary; to earn a well-paying job and live a stable life.”
Knowing that students who had joined Research and Innovation Centre at the college bagged well-paying jobs, Roopam decided to be a part of the same. He says, “I joined the club not out any creative instincts but primarily thinking of it as a launch pad for well-paid jobs.” But, Roopam’s perspective changed soon and for the better."
To look for ideas for building a product, Roopam decided to meet the communities and people on ground. He says, “Research is done to resolve real life problems. On my voyage to look for ideas, I met many visually impaired people. On talking to them, I realized that technology has not really intervened significantly, except the 200-year-old innovation Braille, to help the community.”
Roopam therefore zeroed in on the idea to develop text-reading wearables for the visually impaired people. He says, “I wanted to create something which would help the visually impaired read printed text in real time, like everyone else, and thereby, improving their literacy, employability and overall well being.”
Soon after, Roopam started to work on his plan at his college’s research centre. The first prototype he says came out in 2015, and was named ‘Manovue’. Since then, the world has not stopped showering accolades on Roopam for his brilliant feat. He has been awarded Gifted Citizen Prize in 2016, was named in the list of innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review, and received National Youth Award; the highest youth honour given in India annually by the President.
Last year, Roopam was offered a fellowship at Halcyon in Washington DC, USA, where he is currently building his social enterprise called Eyeluminati, with another co-founder Neeraj Saini, who had earlier collaborated with Roopam during college to develop Manovue. The duo is currently working on a range of intelligent wearables both for the US and India market. According to Roopam, apart from aiding visually challenged people, their wearables would help people decipher foreign languages into their own. The products are expected to hit the market later this year.