At 20, when most of us are busy deciding which college to pick, Susant Pattnaik, has more inventions to his credit than his age, has had a paper published in the MIT Technology review, was recognized as one of the youngest speaker at the TED event and has been rewarded with the President’s award thrice.
The best part is, there’s still no stopping him. He owns two start-ups, one of which provides inventors like him across the country, a platform to properly commercialize their inventions so that they make their way to the target audience.
“They say good things come to those who wait. I don’t believe in that. Why wait? You can either succeed right away or make mistakes and get there eventually, so why wait till 40 to be successful?” he says, whilst explaining his motivation to create.
We had a little chat with him where we came to know more about his inventions, the start-ups he owns and what the future holds for him. Read on. : )
Q) When did it all start? Were you inclined to inventing since a young age?
A) The passion to create has been there since I was a child. I always liked to visualize any problem I came face-to-face with and tried to come up with practical way out for the same. Inventing just became part of problem solving. I tried my hand at inventing for the first time, when I was 15 years old and since then, I have had around 9 big inventions to my credit and a few more in progress.
I like to devote my time to inventions that are capable of bringing a drastic change in the lives of people all over the world. Through my technical inventions, I aim at providing simple, easy and convenient solutions to the otherwise busy and hectic life style of people.
Q) You developed your first major invention, a wheelchair operated by breathing sensors at the age of 15. What inspired you to do so?
A) When I was studying in class 10th, I went to a hospital with my father where I saw a paralyzed person, in a wheelchair, being assisted by a nurse. He was not able communicate properly as he had lost his ability to speak. This seemed to create a lot problem, as the nurse wasn’t able to understand him most of the time. She ended up handing him a glass of water every time he asked for something, which he’d throw down to indicate that he didn’t need it. That situation really disturbed me and I kept thinking about it long after I came back home. I wanted to do something to help people like – differently abled or paralysis ridden- so that they could carry on with their day-to-day activities without relying on other people completely for help.
I started listing out things that were common between a disabled person and a normal one. It was then, I realized that brain and breathing are common points. In the time that followed, I worked on perfecting the concept for a ‘Breathing Sensor Apparatus’, which when breathed into, would assist the user in doing the necessary activities.
Q) How does it feel like to be recognized by organizations like National Innovation Foundation MIT Technology Review at such a young age?
A) Well, it gives me an immense pleasure of course, to get recognition in any form, for my talents, at a national or international level. This drives and motivates me to come up with more inventions, that can empower and provide effective solutions to someone in need.
Q) You also own two start-ups- Spintrotech and San Zurich Fashions. What triggered their start? Tell us more about the services you provide through them.
A) Sometimes, inventing is just not enough. Any invention is useless until and unless it reaches it’s target customer. To make that possible, I founded Spintrotech (P) Ltd in 2012, a social venture company, where the in-house inventors develop products which are then commercialized accordingly. Even my inventions are commercialized using Spintrotech in collaboration with Intel, Techpedia, NIF, IIT- Gandhinagar etc. Through Spintrotech, I aim at providing entrepreneurs with a better experience to start something of their own.
Apart from Spintrotech, I also own a merchandise company, San Zurich Fashions, where people can design their own T-Shirts which will get delivered to them within 4 working days. It is a profitable venture company and has been a merchandise partner in many events of reputed colleges like IITs, other companies, NGOs and more.
Q) What are some of the other things you devote time to, when you’re not inventing?
A) I like to inspire the young minds through my journey and to motivate them to question everything around themselves so that they too can come up with something useful for the coming generation. I first spoke to a large audience when I was 17, in the conference organized by INKtalks held at Lavasa, India. Since then, I have been invited as a guest speaker at many colleges including the IITs and IIMs, companies, self organized events, TED etc, where I give a live demonstration of my inventions apart from the usual motivational talks.
“Susant is an INK fellow. The INK Fellows Program is a young, exceptional, cross-disciplinary community of change-makers from across the globe, and the emerging economies in particular. To view the talk, visit www.inktalks.com“