Bionic Hands – A Different Feeling

Bionic Hands

I think this is going to be one of those breakthroughs in technology that can touch the hearts of millions, bringing tears of happiness to ones eyes. The world’s first bionic hand with the sense of touch is here. A team of researchers from Case Western University have made new prosthetic bionic hand, designed to be capable of using measurements from 20 sensor points to control ones grip. Amazingly, the sensor data is linked directly to the sensory nerves in the patient’s forearm. The control for the grip is then extracted myoelectrically and returned to the muscles in the forearm. “Our dream is to have Luke Skywalker getting back his hand with normal function,” researcher Silvestro Micera told TechNewsDaily, referencing the hero in “Star Wars” who gets an artificial hand after his real one is cut off.

The Amputee

This is the first time that such a variant of the bionic hand will be implanted into an amputee with high hopes that he will regain his sense of touch. The patient is scheduled to wear the bionic hand for some time over a month to see how his body adapts to the new presence. The results of this test is awaited. Everyone is still in high hopes as it is impossible to predict how the body will cope with such a permanent foreign attachment to it. Doctors & researchers say that if all goes well, fully working models would be available clinically in the next two years.

An answered prayer. A dream come true for many.

It can even have next generation applications.




For the startups – from the tycoons!

Dreaming of a new startup? Great! But before you begin, it’s important you take a thing or two from the tycoons. The Dabbawalas, or the lunch delivery men that carry home-cooked food across Mumbai. When it comes to running a successful, error-free, low-investment and high-profit making business, there is none better than the Six Sigma-certified Mumbai Dabbawala Association.

To give a little perspective to those who haven’t heard about them, they are a 125 year old, 5,000 man business chain whose men collect freshly prepared food stored in lunch boxes from various Indian homes & deliver them to their respective workplaces. The dabbawala would then return the empty boxes even before they return from work. They move around in trains, cycles, hand-pulled carts, even with huge carriers over the top of their head. Many of them cannot read, write nor use any kind of fancy technology (except for their recent inclusion of SMS Bookings), yet, they are better performers than most of the folks working at startups.


In 1998, Forbes Magazine recognized its reliability to match the Six Sigma standard. This means that the dabbawalas make less than 1 mistake in every 6 million deliveries. A very driven business with all the fundamentals required for a successful startup is evident in each and every employee of the Dabbawala Association. From a cultural aspect, all of them are founders and stakeholders who give more than 100 percent each time they are out doing their job. Come whatever may, your dabbawaala will never fail you.

So, what is it that startups can take cues from?


“Ownership is a feeling that an employee has to instil in oneself, and unless you get that feeling of ownership you cannot work excellently,” Pawan Agarwal, CEO of Dabbawala Association, said during one of his speeches at the e-Summit 2012 in IIT Delhi.

Ownership is a key aspect when it comes to startups. Building that culture is an integral part of making your startup successful. Very few people today aspire to become linchpins within organizations they work for. If your startup is driving that culture & appreciating the hard work, you can actually see the boost in productivity.


The people of Mumbai say with confidence: “Our lunch can go wrong but not the dabbawalas.” Why is that possible? It all boils down to keeping things simple.

Be it a Steve Jobs or Picasso, all great artists have always had a penchant for simplicity. The dabbawalas maintain that value. After all, the best innovations the world over, are the simplest.

Build, measure, learn

Understanding the need to keep pace with the fast-changing world around us and the use of mobile technology in the city, the Dabbawala Association recently started to embrace technology. Now, they have a growth rate of 5-10 percent every year. Change is inevitable, it’s important that your company keeps pace with the times.

Build services around your own infrastructure

Dabbawalas use a combination of various transport modes, especially very efficient and low cost ones. Trains, cycles, and handcarts contribute to maintaining reliable, efficient, and accurate delivery timelines. So, always adapt, and stick to what’s most convenient in the environment around you.

As lean as it gets

If you consider the dabawallas, their invesment is bare minimum – two bicycles, a wooden crate for the tiffins, white cotton kurta pyjamas, and the trademark white topi. They only charge around 450 rupees per month per customer. Don’t sell your services at a premium, you have time for that.

When you look at this enterprise, certainly there’s a lot more that everyone can learn from, not just startups.


(Adapted from an article in ZDNet by Srinivas Kulkarni from Startup India)

Small is the new BIG!

Many of us start off with big intentions to do big things. Although I’m a person who loves to dream big, (when I say big, I mean BIG!) I find that there is a power in thinking small when getting started with something. Whenever you’re on the tracks to get anything done, big or small, start from where you presently are. Imagine planning a trip from Trivandrum to Goa and putting your starting point in your GPS as Bengaluru. Things just wouldn’t work out.

We aren’t even close to being perfect, nor do we live in a perfect world, so reaching halfway through 2013 wouldn’t necessarily mean we’re halfway through in achieving our goals. We all wonder what exactly is standing in our way? I would argue that the greatest problem that’s been preventing you from accomplishing your biggest goals is that you’re not thinking small enough.

Yes, you heard me right! You aren’t thinking SMALL enough.

Yes, the traditional method for goal setting works, but it’s limited by the size of that person’s belief. So with that in mind I’ve come up with a simple solution. Believe me. It works. Start small. I’m talking SUPER small. The reasoning behind this is quite simple. You need momentum, and nothing builds momentum like getting a few wins under your belt.

Let’s say you want to start a company. You have a billion-dollar idea, but do not know if you’re up for such a big climb. What do you usually do? Think… Think… Think… And, it usually stops there. But, instead try successfully completing something small, even things unrelated to your dream. Doing them successfully gives you the momentum and fire to get on with your next task. This builds up and gives you the confidence to chase your real dream.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about thinking big and having big dreams, but I also understand the need for momentum and confidence. Accomplishing these smaller goals is a lot better than taking that huge first step right away, especially for someone who has not been in the business of large goal setting and achieving.

The purpose of these smaller goals is not to get you closer to your goal, but to develop the skill of belief, the belief that you can accomplish your goals.