R.A. Mashelkar: Breakthrough designs for ultra-low-cost products
Engineer R.A. Mashelkar delivered a fascinating talk about the development of many different products that we take for granted as being expensive, for a very low cost. In what he frequently referred to as "Ghandian engineering", he reiterated his engineering mantra that we need to create "more from less, for more and more people."
The content of his speech was extremely interesting. He talked about his involvement in the development of the Tata Nano, the world's least expensive automobile at $2,000 brand new. He also talked about the development of a durable artificial leg prosthesis, development of drugs to cure disease, and the idea that in order to make practical products for the two billion people who live on less than $2 a day, normal methods of engineering and development need to be radically changed, and already have been in India.
The delivery of this speech was definitely by someone who was an engineer by trade, rather than a professional speaker. Mashelkar spoke quickly throughout the presentation, with few pauses or rests between sentences. However, this made me pay closer attention to what he was saying, and ultimately helped to get the message across. Mashelkar was also limited in hand gestures, and seemed generally stiff onstage, despite walking leisurely around over the course of his speech. He however kept a confident tone throughout.
As to whether R.A. Mashelkar has a more eastern or western speaking style, I feel that he stuck close to Indian speaking norms. He took himself seriously, reiterated pieces of his point, and had more subtle, less staged transitions. However, I also feel he was keeping his audience in mind, as he was giving this TED talk at a college he used to attend as a student in India.
Link to the TED Talk: