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Indian American student invents low cost hearing aid

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n-MUKUND-VENKATAKRISHNAN-large570HOUSTON (Diya TV) — Mukund Venkatakrishnan, a 16-year-old Indian-American high school student recently presented a low-cost hearing aid he invented after two years of development. The invention garnered him first place at the Kentucky State Science and Engineering Fair.

The device, which can be used with the cheapest pair of headphones available at any store, costs just $60, in a market where the cheapest hearing aids retail for nearly $1,500. The most expensive part of the device is the processor responsible for amplifying volume — about $45. Other parts end up costing about $15.

Venkatakrishnan’s hearing aid is built to first test hearing by playing several different sounds at seven different frequencies through a pair of headphones. The device then programs itself, amplifying sounds based off the test results.

“It eliminates the need for a doctor altogether. It is really, in essence, just amplifiers, just increase the volume based on how much hearing loss you have and it is crazy that they cost USD 1,500 each, when you can do it for USD 60,” Venkatakrishnan said of the device.

He was inspired to create the device after visiting his grandparents in India two years ago. During the trip, he was tasked with helping his grandfather get tested and fitted for hearing aids, and saw first hand how expensive the devices are, and how trying to process can be for elderly people. There are few alternatives available for those who can’t afford the expensive prices, he found. Fortunately, in America, the market benefits from healthy competition, so consumers have the luxury of choice. For example, finding a pair of TV ears is not the ordeal it would be in India.

“Since audiologists are specialists, even finding and getting an appointment with one in India was really hard. And then we got ripped off,” he said.

By the time everything was said and done, he said his grandfather had spent about $500 on his doctor appointment, and another $1,900 on his hearing aids alone. It became apparent that hearing was considered a luxury for some in impoverished nations, something that bothered him very much.

“In India, the median household income is USD 616 a year. If someone in India saves all year without spending a penny, they still can not afford a hearing aid.

“Unlike with traditional hearing aids, if the ear piece gets damaged it is not costly to replace. You just buy another set of ear buds. In its current form, the device is about two inches and looks like a computer processor,” he said.

Since winning the science fair, various foundations have begun reaching out to Venkatakrishnan in an effort to get his hearing aid mass-produced and distributed throughout the world immediately. His plan is to visit his grandfather again this summer, and deliver a new hearing aid.

Business

Harvard to host 17th annual India Conference this February

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — For the 17th year in a row, the graduate students at Harvard University will host an India Conference. It will take place during the weekend of February 15-16, 2020. Two days of exciting discussions through panels, mixers and networking will fill the halls of the Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government.

The theme for this year’s conference is Foresight 20/20 – a look at what to expect from India in 2020 and beyond. As one of the largest student led conferences in the USA, the Harvard India conference attracts the biggest headliners from every field – from politics, business, entertainment & the arts. And this year is no different.

India Conference
India Conference at Harvard

With more than 100 speakers and 1000 attendees, the conference promises to have something for everyone. This year’s biggest draw from the entertainment genre is veteran Bollywood actor and self proclaimed ambassador to India, Anupam Kher. Kher has a long standing list of accolades within the film industry. In addition to his acting roles, he has been a producer, director and teacher at his own acting school. Most recently he played the role of Dr. Vijay Kapur on NBC’s primetime drama ‘New Amsterdam‘.

Some other notable speakers this year include founder of the India Today Group, Aroon Purie, Indian Olympic athelete Dutee Chand, comedian and actor, Vir Das, partner at Softbanks’ Vision Fund Lydia Jett & politician and India’s ruling party (BJP)’s sherpa to the G20, Suresh Prabhu.

The harsh winter in Harvard doesn’t seem slow down or dull these brilliant minds in any way. The India Conference at Harvard continues to retain its standing as the conference of choice for deliberating issues ranging from technology, media, politics and eduction to creating solutions for India’s path towards global leadership. The event features brainstorming sessions and sincere discussions on the very real and large scale problems that are uniquely Indian.

Diya TV is a media sponsor to the event and will be on-site covering conference. To receive a 20% discount use code RDAY20 here and to know more about the conference or speakers, head to the IndiaConference.com

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Law

India loses contact with Moon Lander, outcome unclear

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Moon Lander

BENGALURU, India (Diya TV) — India’s attempt to land a rover on the moon may have fallen short. Moments before landing, scientists lost contact with the Chandrayaan-2. The goal was to land near the moon’s south pole, an area that has been largely unexplored. All was normal until the lander was roughly one mile away from the moon’s surface. ISRO is still analyzing data. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said afterwards “In life, there are ups and downs. The country is proud of you.” He later tweeted “we remain hopeful and will continue working hard on our space programme.”

The United States State Department is showing support for India’s new law that designates four men — Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, its top leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi & notorious mobster Dawood Ibrahim — as terrorists. State Department Acting Assistant Secretary Alice Wells said the new law “expands possibilities for joint #USIndia efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism.” Under this bill, India can impose a travel ban on individuals who have been designated as “terrorists” and seize their properties.

And Detroit local news anchor Roop Raj took to social media to respond to a viewer wondering where he ‘came from.’ And as usual, he handled it with grace and aplomb.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Business

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi blasts Boris Johnson for ‘racist remarks’

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Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi

LONDON (Diya TV) —  In London, the first-ever Sikh Member of Parliament, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, received a round of applause from his colleagues after demanding an apology from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for making “derogatory and racist remarks” on Muslim women wearing burqas. Johnson rebuffed the claim and did not respond to the statement directly.

Mountain View Police arrested 50 year old Reenu Saini and her four friends for allegedly staging a home invasion to evict tenants from her investment property. When that didn’t work, police say the group shut off the home’s power and tried to open the door.Saini is charged with attempted robbery, burglary of an inhabited dwelling, conspiracy to commit a crime and unlawfully shutting off power to a home

Judge Raag Singhal was nominated to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. And Jones Day partner Shireen Matthews was nominated to serve as Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

And Silicon Valley AI analytics startup Thoughtspot, which is led by CEO Sudheesh Nair and founded by a group of Indian Americans, raised $248 million at a $1.95 billion valuation.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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