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.
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.
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.