SEHORE, India – Indian professor Anil Gupta has spent decades scouring the Indian countryside searching for unsung inventors in rural villages. He works in the belief that the most powerful ideas for relieving poverty and hardship in the country won't come from corporate research labs but from those struggling to survive. He has documented 25,000 innovations from the bicycle-mounted crop sprayer to the bulletproof vest made of herbs. Here's a look at some other innovations he's found:
COTTON HARVESTER: Nattubhai Vader, a farmer from the state of Gujarat, invented a special cotton harvester that fits over a tractor after watching women and children performing the slow grueling work of harvesting an especially troublesome variety of cotton.
COCONUT PLUCKER: The late farmer M.J. Joseph, also known as Appachan, had only a fourth grade education but was still able to create a device for climbing coconut trees to harvest the fruit.
WATER WALKERS: Dwarka Prasad had heard about a fraudster holy man who claimed he could walk on water. Intrigued, he decided to design special water walking shoes that would allow the wearer to walk or skate across a lake.
PERPETUAL PAINTBRUSH: Jahangir Ahmad devised an electric paintbrush that pumps paint from a hose directly to the brush and never needs to be dipped into a can.
ALOE VERA GEL MAKER: Dharamveer Kamboj made a tabletop machine that can cheaply make aloe vera gel from aloe leaves.
WATER TIRES: Farmers in the state of Madhya Pradesh brushed aside tractor salesmen who were trying to sell them expensive weights to help their tractors work the thick, hard soil there. Instead, they filled the tires with water, making the tractors heavier for a minimal cost.
LEG-POWERED WASHING MACHINE: High school student Remya Jose was forced to do laundry by hand when her mother got sick because her family had no washing machine. So she invented a washing machine/exercise bike that is cheap to make and requires no electricity.
WELL PULLEY: Amrit Agrawat wanted to help the women in his village who were struggling to pull heavy water buckets from a well so he made a pulley with a brake to let the women rest midway through their labor.