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As NUtons, Rahul Kumar, Varshnee Raj, Abhinandan Bhargava and Alphonse Dhas Antony were trained to become adept problem-solvers from the very beginning. And so, the Class of 2017 BTech students wasted no time in putting their training to practice. Realising that the country’s growing middle class was driving the rising demand for wholesome, hygienic and healthy food free of harmful residues, the quartet turned their gaze to the glaring problem of quality and safety issues in agricultural produce in India even before they graduated.
The four of them decided to pool their diverse knowledge and training – Rahul and Abhinandan were studying Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) while Varshnee and Alphonse had chosen Electronics and Communication and Biotechnology respectively as their BTech streams – to develop a tech-driven solution.
Through their start-up, RAAV Techlabs, which they founded while still in college, they harnessed the power of cutting-edge technologies such as machine vision and spectroscopy along with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop portable, non-invasive and non-destructive quality assurance devices to test the internal quality of foods, vegetables, grains and pulses – devices that produced results in just 30 seconds.
Their solution, which had the added benefit of providing traceability to the agri supply chain, impressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi no less, when they demonstrated a prototype of their NIR spectrometer AoNIR (which was funded by the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology) to him and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Indo-Israel Innovation Initiative held at the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology or iCreate at Ahmedabad in 2018. PM Modi made a special mention of their start-up at his address on the occasion.
That’s not all. Rahul, Abhinandan, Alphonse and Varshnee were able to quickly take RAAV Techlabs’ solutions to market with the help of product development grants and mentorship from the Government of India’s Department of Science