ORIG WINDMILL1

Anil Gupta’s lie about Indian ‘windmill’ innovation exposed

Before I checked the Indian patent application on the windmill, I repeatedly asked Prof. Anil Gupta to clarify what the invention was all about. As usual he was dodgy, but insisted there was an invention and asked me to read up on “the modifications made by these brothers in windmill design for which only the patent can be granted” and typically parroted terms like prior art search, novelty establishment, number of patents (800) filed by him etc.

COMMENT1 ANS

I always knew there was no invention. Anyone looking at a centuries old invention like a windmill from an avid inventor’s/researcher’s perspective will know that western inventors plugged gaps in product development almost immediately. A flaw or shortcoming or modification for specific use or improvement incorporating new technologies was/is addressed immediately. Stagnation was/is unheard of. I can cite hundreds of minor/major modifications a windmill or any other product has undergone. Some recognized and remembered, patented and celebrated, many forgotten. ‘Been there, done that’ is the loud message writ large on the wall of western invention. This is mainly due to the sheer number of inventors, tinkerers, makers involved in the process. The confluence of knowledge of practical science and skill is mind boggling.

So when Anil claimed that an uneducated Indian had been able to find a chink in this seamless evolution, I was skeptical but intrigued. Yes, as Anil claims, several patents have been granted to modifications in windmill design. But there is a major, yet subtle difference superficial interlopers like Anil can’t comprehend.

The windmill, a simple gadget, has long ceased to be simple. All the simple modifications which a small time, uneducated backyard tinkerer could do has been done decades ago. So, simple things like experimenting with the number of blades, size of the blades, angle of the blade, shape of the blade, different mechanisms to convert the rotary movement, orientation mechanisms, safety features, different applications, different materials etc have all been done before.

The rest of the world  has moved on from ‘Do what has not been done’ to ‘Make the impossible, possible’

The game is now played on super computers and in wind tunnels, by scientists pushing the boundaries of science, measuring in microns not meters, staking millions, trying to squeeze the maximum benefit by super fine tuning the design. Radical inventions in such old products are nearly impossible. And hence an Indian farmer who had not even seen a windmill, inventing a new design was indeed earth shattering news. But that the only noise made about this was by Anil and his small gang and the silence of the rest of the world over this invention was a dead giveaway. Something even Anil knew but opted to hide.

It was with this knowledge that I logged on to the Indian patent office portal to search for the application.

And what I found was deplorable. Prof Anil Gupta, in his myopic greed to become a messiah of a non-existent brood of Indian inventors has done a great disservice to the country. And I say this in all earnestness.

The application reads like most of Anil’s animated speeches and his description of ‘thousands of Indian inventions’ he has cataloged on his websites – an Indian movie’s melodramatic sob story. His focus is always on the maker’s poverty, his disadvantages, the sacrifices of the parents etc. Anil surreptitiously tries to falsely elevate an honest, local, self-help achievement by tugging on the reader’s sentiments and emotions instead of critically, fairly and impartially assessing the actual achievement.

When one laboriously sifts through all the intentional chaff in the application, rereads it several times striving to isolate the part where the claim of a real invention is mentioned, one will find it cleverly (so the authors think) tucked away, nestled among tripe and lengthy descriptions of existing designs, hoping that it will be missed.

Anil’s claim of the great Indian invention is a just a SIMPLE  TILTING  MECHANISM added to the tower of an antiquated windmill design. His constant, veiled claims made elsewhere of any real invention with reference to the physics or engineering of a windmill directly affecting it’s performance is a blatant, untenable lie. There is no such claim made in the patent application.

His mala fide intentions are further exposed when, on the NIF website describing the same invention, he never mentions or hails  the tilt mechanism as the invention. Instead, he falsely claims unsubstantiated superior performance figures “due to the ‘unique design’ of the windmill”. But he never uses the word ‘blade’ in describing the ‘unique design’ and very cleverly avoids linking the two. You can read it here.

His pathetic claim in the patent application is that the world, in all its collective wisdom, had never considered or addressed the destructive effect on a windmill when the wind speed increases. This lapse, from an overly inventive society which has hundreds of thousands of windmills in operation for a few centuries at least and has experienced and overcome every conceivable weather anomaly nature has thrown at them was somehow miraculously spotted by Anil and his coterie. The collective, local,  knowledge of Indians in windmill technology is limited to what a handful of people know from the few thousands of the latest design of imported windmills installed in India over the past decade. Indians have never harnessed wind except for flying paper kites.

It is in this skewed context that Anil’s inventors realize this huge flaw in design and innovatively incorporate a hinge, a pulley, a wire rope and a drum (aka a winch) into the tower using which the top half of the tower can be lowered to the ground to protect it.

And it is this pulley system that Anil unabashedly proclaims to the world as an Indian invention, an epitome of frugal innovation. 

No wonder Anil refused to answer my questions about this. He at least exhibited some shame through his silence and by blocking me on twitter.

Excerpts (mistakes et al) from the patent application 1367/KOL/2008 available here


A similar invention is described in the websites, http://www.aermotorwindmills.com/- and http://www.internationalwindmill.com/how-do-iron-man-windmills-work.htm wherein the water retrieving mechanism with the combination of windmill is known but the tilting mechanism has not been developed.

Though many technologies relating to the windmill operated water pund can be found in the prior art, most of them are either huge size or fully automatic complicated mills, suitable for electricity generation. They are also very expensive in nature. Thus there is a need for developing simpler, yet more efficient, tiltable windmill, compatible for use in low flowing wind speed areas. It also reveals the need for a system which can be installed manually and for developing water pump which can be easily attached with small size of windmills, without affecting its ergonomics or efficiency.

The present invention relates to a multimpurpose windmill comprising : amain tower (1); multiple rotating blades (3) mounted on said tower through a blade rotating shaft (4) and a crank means (5); a tail blade (6) connected to said main tower; a pump driving vertical shaft (7) passing through said main tower; a reciprocating pump (8) attached at lower end of said shaft; a discharger (9) connected to said pump; and a tilting/uplifting means arranged beside the main tower

At the time of higher wind speed, the windmill can be easily tilted down by unwinding the rope wire (14) from the drum (13) so that top part of tower (2) structure with blades (3) can be lowered down from support provided at 90 degree. This mechanism will facilitate installing and dismantling of the windmill blades.

As shown in fig. 2, the tilting mechanism of the windmill works with the operation to tilt the windmill tower (12) which can be arranged besides the tower (1) to enable easy tilting & uplifting of the upper part of tower (2). The tilting device having a tilting lever (13) arranged in such a way that it is operated manually using the tilting lever (12), wherein provided metallic ropes (14) supportive lower down the position of the top part of tower to placed horizontally in line of vertical lower part of tower.

Therefore the present invention has been developed with inbuilt tilting mechanism to tilt and lower down the upper part of windmill through wire rope which refrain windmill to get damaged from high speed wind.

We Claim,
1. A multipurpose windmill comprising :
a main tower (1); multiple rotating blades (3) mounted on said tower through a blade rotating shaft (4) and a crank means (5); a tail blade (6) connected to said main tower; a pump driving vertical shaft (7) passing through said main tower; a reciprocating pump (8) attached at lower end of said shaft; a discharger (9) connected to said pump; and a tilting/uplifting means arranged beside the main tower 2. The multipurpose windmill as claimed in claim 1, wherein said main tower comprises two parts : a tiltable upper part (2) a stationary lower part (2′); and 3. The multipurpose windmill as claimed in claim 1, wherein said tower rests on tower footings (10, 10′). 4. The multipurpose windmill as claimed in claim 1, wherein said tilting/uplifting means comprises : a tilting lever (12); a drum (13); and a rope wire (14) 5. The multipurpose windmill as claimed in claim 1, for pumping water and generating electricity.


I am no reporter, but a passionate inventor and a patriotic Indian. Hence my duty does not end with just highlighting an individuals folly. In my subsequent blogs I will try to analyze the ill effects of the Anils of India on India.

ANIL GUPTA of IIMA, NIF, GIAN, SRISTI, HONEYBEE NETWORK is lying and fudging figures.

Note: Anil Gupta has built such a complex web of organizations with so many figureheads that it is difficult to mention them all every time. Instead I will refer to Anil Gupta, the mastermind and their most vocal representative.

On a puerile Michigan Radio blog about frugal innovation by Shobita Parthasarathy, Prof. Anil Gupta arrogantly replied thus to my simple, straight forward question.

COMMENT1 ANS

Giving credence to Anil’s fervent claims, based on his credentials,  and genuinely curious, I went about reading up on the modifications these brothers Md. Mehtar D Hussain and Mustaq Ahmad made in windmill design which validated Anil Gupta’s classification of this as an invention and it’s eligibility for a patent. You too can here

(I would like to mention here that I feel bad dragging the two brothers into this. Their effort in building a windmill without ever having seen one has to be lauded and I have nothing but praise for their grit)

Unfortunately I could not find any tech specs to support Anil’s ludicrous claims. I am sure his weak excuse would be non disclosure to protect the invention. So, in spite of following Anil’s suggestion of educating myself and coming up with zilch, I resorted to the only other evidence available. The photos of this invention and the patent application.

The windmill Anil discovered in Assam was the most rudimentary contraption cranking an existing hand pump. The photo clearly indicates the frugal needs of the 2 brothers and their lack of understanding of even basic aerodynamics or mechanical linkages.

ORIG WINDMILL1

This was then transformed by Anil so beyond recognition with the technical help of Alstom (as they themselves claim) that they can’t even claim it is the original design or the actual intellectual involvement of the original makers.

 

aLSTHOM winmill

modified WINDMILL

 

The patent was then applied on this design. Anil and his brain washed, disillusioned, ignorant cronies should be hauled over the coals for misguiding others, false propaganda and fudging figures. Even their patent application reeks of duplicity and a clear mala fide intent to mislead. The application proves their hollow claims of an invention and has been applied for just to add to the numbers which suits his devious intent. There is no real invention.

But let me unravel this moral fraud systematically. There are too many, but I will try my best.

The first lie: Screen shot from NIF website under ‘Innovation Description’ of this windmill

screenshot-nif org in 2016-05-16 17-11-20_Lie 1 wind speed

NIF/GIAN/Anil say that “the windmills available in the market are Aerodynamic windmills”, meaning the blades have an aerofoil design and work on the Bernoulli’s Principle, and “these types have a high cut-in speed (minimum wind speed required for starting is about 5 to 7 Km/hr)”.

The windmill invented by the brothers “with a unique design works on the aerodynamic principle but is a drag type”. “It starts at a very low wind speed (ie about 8 to 10 Km/hr)

  • Anil Gupta must think the general public are fools not to notice the lie. High is 5-7 kmph, but the Indian invention has a low cut-in of 7-10 kmph?
  • Anil initially derides the ‘aerodynamic’ windmills and in the very next sentence, contrarily claims theirs is ‘aerodynamic, but drag type’ ??????

The second lie: GIAN collaborated with Alstom to implement the project and they were supposed to install 50 windmills. But according to Alstom website, the project was abandoned after phase 1 of 25 units.

But what is really shocking is that Anil Gupta and his multiple organizations and their websites proclaim that their selfless motto is “the Network has made it a norm to acknowledge the knowledge provider with name and reference —- These have been the guiding principles of the Network, which are fundamental to the functioning of the network and constitute the major non-negotiable for the Network. ”

But Alstom does not mention the 2 brothers. Instead the limelight is hogged by GIAN.

Where is your sense of fairness now prof. Anil Gupta? What is the real purpose of the multiple organizations you have started? It appears to be self-aggrandizement and an opportunity to lie your way around the globe.

Next post: Anil’s lie about an invention exposed

Michigan Radio thread – My reply to Prof. Anil Gupta

Comment thread source Michigan Radio – Fostering grassroots innovation: Lessons India can teach Michigan

screenshot-michiganradio org 2016-05-25 09-23-26

Whoa. Once you realize you are not in a classroom but among your peers and superiors and stop assigning homework, you may yet learn something about real innovation. Kindly read my blog www.chetanprasad.com, subscribe to online magazines like www.instructables.com, scour, collect and read old issues of Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Science and Mechanics, Mechanics Illustrated, pick up some tools, build, disassemble/assemble or repair something, understand how things are made, design a gadget, hunt scrapyards for a component, be subjected to ridicule and then worthily wear the crown of a critic, proponent or spokesperson of any form of innovation.

I have done enough homework, in fact more than you and I don’t need to constantly re-read your pedantic websites other than to understand your lack of understanding of the subject. So please stop quoting the same 5 websites as if they were the ten commandments. They are not. The real world of innovation is much more accomodative, diverse and evolved than your proverbial ‘frog in the well’ vision.

I also tried to keep it civil, hoping that this discussion will enrich. not just the 2 of us but several others. But your repeatedly supercilious barbs shows I was mistaken. Unfortunately, your pot is already full.

And why is it that you never answer a question to the point, but instead start sermonizing and dodging? I will repeat them again for your benefit.

1. What is the real technological innovation in this windmill you found worthy of a patent?
2. What is the Indian system of innovation?

Since you have challenged my competence, I dare you to concisely answer and defend these questions in an open forum of your choice, instead of hiding behind the privacy of an email. Don’t you think you should, for a change, give the world a chance to grade your answers?

And a double dare. Why not have a debate at IIMA?  Your turf, your audience, your convenience, you and me debating all aspects of innovation. You don’t even have to host me. I will be there. And before you question my eligibility, I am just 10th pass, uneducated and a grass root innovator and fall right into the category you do shodyatras to discover and promote. Well, here I am saving you all the trouble.
Spoiler Alert: But I am not illiterate, ignorant or inarticulate.


NOTE: READ THE COMMENTS. THAT IS WHERE THE ACTION IS

How frugal is frugal innovation?

Frugal innovation is not frugal by choice, but by the lack of it.

How does any individual, anywhere, innovate to overcome a personal problem? He tinkers with what he has lying around, salvages from the junk yard and develops an optimal solution, constantly balancing cost and functionality.

But when he has to sell the same to others, his outlook changes. And his focus on frugality gradually vanishes.

What was once his personal, beautiful baby will now be impersonally and critically judged by paying customers. That rusty bolt and nut will have to be replaced with new ones. He will have to use new steel sheets instead of the rusty piece cut out from the car door. Edges will have to be beaded. Painting with a brush will have to be replaced with rust proofing, surface preparation and powder coating. He will need decals. The hand beaten metal cone has to be deep drawn. That open mechanism he had covered with a shoe box now has to be covered with a moulded plastic cover. Those rubber components he cut from a tyre have to be moulded. Plastic ties replaced with metal worm clamps. Since his customers may not be tech savvy, he needs to modify the design, make it user friendly and incorporate safety features and consider maintenance / spare parts issues. He also needs to pack, crate and insure his machine for transportation.

And all these if he has to sell even five units. If he gets orders for 50 units, then he has to contend with issues like a dedicated manufacturing setup, labor, accounting, regulatory compliance, CNC  machines, water jet cutters, MIG, TIG and robotic welders etc while planning for a 500 unit order. Complexities and cost increase with more orders, more expectations, more responsibility and reputation.

Then comes competition. This leads to patent and copyright protection,  forces mass production techniques to reduce unit costs, advertising, R&D to develop newer models and thus is born the evil, profit driven corporation. ‘He’ and ‘frugal innovation’ are dead and gone.

This is true of all frugal innovations and all big corporations. Apple, GE, IBM, Ford are a few that comes to mind. And hence condemning big companies while leading and encouraging frugal innovators up the same path is misleading, devious, myopic and mischievous.

Take the real world example of 2 guys in India who ‘invented’ a windmill water pump. No, no, not in the 17th century but in 2011, and I, for the life of me, cannot fathom what the invention is all about. One report says these frugal innovators used bamboo to build the tower and tin sheets to fabricate the vanes and cost $120. Any DIY guy will also vouch that this could not have cost more than a couple of thousand rupees.

Then came along the National Innovation Foundation, an organization dedicated to discovering and encouraging ‘frugal, grass root innovation’ in India and propogating it globally. NIF ‘helped’ these farmer turned innovators to patent, improve design, find manufacturers, market etc this Indian invention.

After this intervention, this frugal innovation is made of mild steel tubular towers and blades made of ‘light weight material’.

This, now not so frugal an innovation costs rupees 80,000 + transportation + taxes.

Thanks NIF for helping these frugal innovators defeat the very concept of frugal innovation and thanks too for inadvertently proving to the world the reality of frugal innovation and how your or any modern principles, processes, technology or business practises, the very concepts you deviously preach to the developed world to shun, avoid and discard, transforms a frugal innovation into a full fledged modern business.

But the bigger question which proponents of frugal innovation have to answer is how does one define frugal innovation? In the case of the wind mill, is the very first working prototype, costing around 6000 rupees, with all it’s shortcomings, frugal, or the improved version costing 80,000, frugal? 

If the increase in cost can be justified as for better material, design, reliability etc, then who decides how much improvement, in what sector is enough? 

The balance between all these factors is finally decided by the consumer. And this is what any business is all about. Demand and supply. If there is a demand for an unreliable, ugly, inefficient product, it will be met. But then these very same academicians will decry this effort with words like quality, reliability, serviceability, efficiency, aesthetics etc. 

So it would be safe to conclude that “frugal innovation” is a misnomer, a phrase coined solely for the purpose of academic debate. 

But if these guys truly believe their own lies, then they are fools to not realize that they are sitting on an untapped market with billions. Let them frugal innovate, say a car, and prove their theory. Oh wait. The Tata’s tried that with the Nano and failed. 

Jugaad is just pimped out frugal innovation

I have to hand it to those who have managed to package jugaad, a disgraceful form of Indian stupidity, as a form of innovation, DIY and frugal innovation. Well, the only thing jugaad is frugal with is quality and imagination, the very antithesis of innovation.

And it would be safe to assume that these proponents of jugaad are academicians who have never innovated. Else they would never sell us, real innovators short.

The frequently peddled examples of jugaad are local hacks by poor illiterate, ignorant Indians solving a problem with quick fix solutions. They are all inferior versions of what has been done long before and hence cannot qualify as innovation. This is the Indian bourgeois white collar’s desperate effort to make the blue collars elite, respectable and presentable to the world at large so that they can ride on these grease monkey’s Icarus wings.

The latest form of this whitewash is to tactfully apply jugaad or frugal innovation to all non technical areas like innovation in management.  A desperate attempt by a few to stay relevant and market a dangerous concept by packaging it as an exotic, eastern, mystical, ancient secret to a curious (but not stupid) western audience since real innovators can see through this sham.

When you move away from the oft mentioned examples like motor bikes (prime mover) used as pumps or diesel engines fixed to a bullock cart chassis and used as motorised vehicles or re-invented simple agricultural machines which lay discarded on the wayside of western innovation highways, what you experience will be the ugly reality of jugaad in practise. Something we frown upon amongst ourselves, but desperately camouflage for others.

Take the helmet,  a product of advanced engineering, a life saver under constant development. Different composite shells, paddings, crush zones, comfort are thrust areas where millions of dollars are invested. Some would argue that it is over engineered, but not those who possess and value what it is trying to save.

Now shift your focus to India. The land of jugaad,  whose frugal innovators are out to redefine innovation and teach the teachers.

About 80% of India’s vehicle population comprises of 2 wheelers and hence an equally huge market for helmets. Several states have made them compulsory for both riders.

But when we Indians indianized it using a concept called jugaad, we produced a helmet,  that is now worn by the majority of bike riders, a helmet which costs less than 100 rupees, or $1.5. No. Not a typo. A DOLLAR AND FIFTY CENTS. We managed to pull off this disgraceful feat by intentionally ignoring the key concept of protection, the very essence of a helmet.

FRP helmet shells - Frugal innovation

FRP helmet shells Frugal innovation

Our helmets look every bit like a real helmet, bright and colorful, with visors and comfortable foam padding. But the superficial similarity ends there. Our single layer FRP helmets are as fragile as the very glass the FRP  was born from and was invented to overcome. Forget about protecting our heads,  they can’t protect themselves when accidently dropped.

Unfortunately one can’t see this facet of jugaad highlighted by the touts of frugal innovation because they drive around in swanky, chauffeur driven cars, visit remote villages, publicize the irrelevant, inveigle the perpetrators and inadvertently do more harm than good.

When the task of the world’s innovators is to raise the bar, our ‘innovators’are playing limbo bar, the exact opposite.

Indian innovation is like ‘Sewing without cloth’

Is Appovation = Innovation = Invention?

There is so much focus nowadays on IT, Digital India, connectivity, bandwidth, 4G and apps being developed by all and sundry as a solution for every conceivable problem that I fear we are running ahead of ourselves.

India and Indians took to the digital revolution as a duck to water. The reasons are multi fold and the subject matter for another post.

It would be wrong to judge the effects of this thrust as just good or bad. It certainly has done some good and also an equal amount of bad. So the right approach would be to judge it in context. The context here being, if we, as a nation, should take our collective skill in churning out apps to solve social problems as the real solution to the problem?

Going by the euphoria I sense around me in mainstream and social media, it would appear  we already are. Then the next question would be, have these apps really solved some, any, if not all our problems? I say no.

IMHO most apps are just a personalized, shortcut direct access program to an otherwise conventional website, residing on your device.

And as usual, we Indians took the easy way out. Solution to a complex, real life traffic problem – launch an app. Garbage problem – launch an app. Women and child safety – launch an app. Police indifference – launch an app.

So, where did we miss the plot?

Agreed, a baker will bake, a tanner will tan and an Indian will cut ‘n paste code.

But should’nt we broaden our ‘innovative prowess’ a tad bit?  Look at Uber, a cab aggregator. When people had problems getting a cab ride, they wrote a program, designed a database and launched an app. Then they went around signing up cabbies and wooing commuters, in the US of A. But in India, even though the need was real and essentially the same program or ‘App’ would have succeded, they first had to link it to the reality on the ground. We had no cabs to aggregate. That was a bummer and since Uber was not an eyewash solution to placate a frustrated society, they tackled the real world problem, a herculean task, ere the launch/success of the ‘app’.

Digital India without physical India is like a sewing machine’s complex knots without the cloth. Beautiful, almost erotic in appearance, but totally useless and easily unravelled.

Never ask an Indian for directions

  1. It was around March 2000 that my younger brother visited us from the US with his 7-year-old son. My brother moved to the US from India, but my nephew was born and raised there.

We had a small fish tank at home and upon seeing it my nephew told me that he had a 16 gallon tank at home and asked me what the size of our tank was.

We all (the desi relatives) went silent while my brother and my nephew went back and forth guessing the size of our tank.

2. My friend’s 20-year-old son who was visiting from Australia asked me what the permissible blood alcohol level in India was and as most Indians, I had never bothered to acquire this information.

3. Almost all my friends, born in India, but settled in the US are so specific in terms of distance / driving time to their office or other places, their internal compass always aware and oriented, know the present temperature, wind chill factor, snow fall in inches etc.

I am sure we have all experienced this. We have also experienced how we Indians give directions.

“Go straight, turn left (while pointing right), then go more straaaaaight, at circle take middle (of 4) road, then little straight till you get an up and then a down……”

This stems from the fact that we Indians have no concept of the physical world around us.

Length, width, height, weight, thickness, angle, mass, volume, speed, pressure, direction, temperature, color, material, voltage, current etc are all ignored in our conversation, movies, TV serials, MSM, SM.

And this alienation, this lack of familiarity, this dissociation is preventing us from either understanding or acknowledging or conquering them and hence we see all these problems festering around us.

What you measure, you manage!

Read More

Jugaad – A curse on Indians

There are several definitions of Jugaad. The flattering ones have somehow managed to give a positive spin to this accursed stigmatic cancer that has killed all forms of innovation and quality in Indians.

It is very easy for academicians or westerners, not subject to the ills of Jugaad to glamorize it. But for those of us suffering it on a daily basis, this photo speaks a thousand words.

Jugaad
The true essence of Jugaad

I shot this photo while on a trip to Nandi Hills, a popular hillock near Bengaluru. These type of structures are commonly found in front of temples. 

But look at the photo and the clueless morons standing under it. #1 Exposed rebars in the heavy concrete canopy. #2 A casuarina pole propped up to replace a broken concrete pillar. #3 The short pole precariously propped up on 2 blocks of stone (Zoom in on 3 and you can see the chamfered base of the pole).

This photo lucidly depicts the true nature of Jugaad. A quick fix, with whatever is available, with sheer contempt to safety, science, engineering, common sense or aesthetics.

And the Indians under it amplify our collective attitude of ignorance, apathy and tremendous stupidity.

3d zebra crossing. A ‘killer’ solution, literally.

lead_large

An Ahmadabad based artist, Saumya Pandya Thakkar along with her mother Shakuntala Pandya has painted a 3d zebra crossing and it is being acclaimed as a breakthrough solution to India’s accident prone roads.

Why are we so stupid? This is more of a dangerous distraction than a solution. Only a country which randomly copies ideas can get so carried away and miss the entire narrative.

A zebra crossing is a suggestive marking to alert drivers to slow down and stop “IF” and “ONLY IF” there are pedestrians using it or waiting to do so. The subtlety is obvious only to a society which has not only invented but also respects, understands and uses these signs.

Stop and yield combo sign
The 3d zebra crossing is visually misleading and dangerous to drivers as it gives the impression that there is an obstacle on the road and one HAS to stop and then let the brain and the eye reanalyze the image, conclude that it was a false alarm and then proceed.

Not all drivers have the same perception or visual analytical ability or reactions.
What if a distracted driver sees this at the last moment and confusedly slams  on the brakes? Or worse, what if a motorist ignores one of our notorious speed breakers thinking it is a 3d painting? 

As with everything else in our lives, we have been able to buy the best ready made solutions without having to strain a single grey cell and hence don’t appreciate the decades of trials and errors, research and iterations these solutions undergo. We feel that the first crazy thought that comes to our mind is a winner. We Indians need to realize that the reason we cannot find others using these ideas is not because they are unique, but because they have been debated, tried and discarded.

Why do we Indians make heroes out of ordinary citizens doing ordinary things? It could be because of our lack of real heroes in any field. And this street art by this mother daughter duo is not even original. They have copied the idea from the Chinese city of Changsha.

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Also, why do we Indians have this penchant to justify every act of ours as having a higher ethical, social or moral cause? Why cant this be appreciated as just art and not seen as a solution to a social problem?

I really hope the IRC takes serious cognizance of this and issues a stern warning to all those involved.

 

More images here at techzug.com

Edit: The central minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari feels this is a good idea and is mulling on trying it on the highways. I really hope he realises his folly before more lives are lost. 

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