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Madhav Lavakare on ‘moon shots’ as antidote to real world problems

Conversations on the Contrary: Speaking with STIR at Kyoorius Designyatra 2019, Madhav Lavakare, a young innovator from Delhi, explains why human-centric design matters.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Dec 28, 2019

For 18-year-old Madhav Lavakare, problems are just solutions waiting to be found. The founder of New Delhi-based impact technology startup, TinkerTech Labs, believes that often a path of crazy, impossible looking ideas (or moon shots) is the one that leads to a better and a happy world for all.

It’s about seeing the invisible problem, not just the obvious one. – Madhav Lavakare

A hacker and a tinkerer since childhood, Lavakare, at the age of four, made a solar powered oven out of aluminium foil and cardboard, and a home automation system to control the use of electricity at the age of nine. The products were born out of simple problems – the former was because his parents did not allow him to use oven, and the latter being persistent scolding for not turning off the power when not in use.

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Conversations on the Contrary with Madhav Lavakare Video Credit: Courtesy of STIR

Continuing with his innovations in the later years, the young social entrepreneur has created a stir with a product designed for the hearing-impaired, called 'TranscribeGlass'. The device is a wearable assistive smart glass that translates speech to text in real time, and projects it on a head up display in the user’s field of vision. The aim is to blur the communication gap for people who are hard of hearing and make them become a part of everyday conversations. The product, which is still in development, can be retrofitted onto any spectacle and has been priced at INR 2500.

Of course, you should see the pros and cons, but at some point, the benefits and the happiness of doing what you love doing should always outweigh the risk. – Madhav Lavakare

Lavakare is passionate about finding creative solutions to real world problems. His work emphasises the need for human-centric design that empathises with people and help them live a better life. A dominant thought among designers today he wishes that didn’t exist, is the seeming wave that design is solely about the designer and his personal expression, and not about the user who is eventually going to physically apply that design.

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TranscribeGlass by Madhav Lavakare Video Credit: Madhav Lavakare

His practice brings forward the reality of the DIY-culture in India, where designing for manufacturing is still a challenge for many. Lavakare says the hardware sector is still developing in the country and there are not enough resources to convert great ideas into real prototypes. Despite the roadblocks, he is determined to stir the future of design by not going with the flow but walking against the current with works that impact lives.

(Watch out for more design contrarians in the series, 'Conversations on the Contrary')

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