To drive innovation, ideas need to be generated not only from within the organization, but also from external sources. With this intention, organizations such as ICICI Bank Ltd have developed relationships with partners such as the MIT Media Lab India and WeSchool. ICICI Bank, for instance, is not only backing these prototypes, but intends to use them when they are ready.
To drive innovation, ideas need to be generated not only from within the organization, but also from external sources. With this intention, organizations such as ICICI Bank Ltd have developed relationships with partners such as the MIT Media Lab India and WeSchool. ICICI Bank, for instance, is not only backing these prototypes, but intends to use them when they are ready.

Top 10 technology design prototypes to watch out for

Mint selects prototypes which it believes will impact users directly

Go Shop

When a customer enters a shopping mall or any retail environment and moves closer to the “Go Shop" screen, the display becomes more attractive, wooing the shopper with different advertisements. This is accomplished by using proximity sensors that measure the distance between the person and the sensor, triggering different advertisements at set distances. As he enters the demarcated zone, the camera mounted on the screen takes a picture of the customer and matches it with images from ICICI Bank’s customer database using facial recognition. Based on his or her previous shopping trends, it showcases relevant, timely and personalized offers. The “Go Shop" system, thus, enables customers to enhance their shopping experience. Saurabh Singh, senior general manager at ICICI Bank, is “confident that through these platforms, we will witness breakthrough concepts that can change the future of banking".


The software captures an image of the currency note, transfers the image to a computer, following which the programme/software installed on the computer scans for authenticity of almost all important markers (as stated by the Reserve Bank of India). It can report the note as fake or genuine, based on the results of the image scan. The tool is portable and can be installed on smartphones with some improvization unlike fake currency detectors that are typically bulky and expensive. Note.EFY also has scope for improvement since any good-quality camera, with a capability of taking images at 30 frames per second, can help large-scale use of this software (multiple notes can simply flip at a fast rate) by companies.


This is a system that promises speedier, convenient and safer transactions in automated teller machine (ATM). It uses fingerprint scanning and facial recognition to identify users. Once authenticated with the double scanning (fingerprint + facial recognition), a user can transact immediately, reducing the cycle time per user. A fingerprint scanner is attached to a programming board Arduino (open-source electronics prototyping platform) that acts as the interface between the hardware and the software. Once the fingerprint is identified by the computer to which the scanner is connected, it prompts the user to scan his/her face. If the face is recognized, the transaction is authenticated. Else the programming loop terminates, stopping the transaction. This authentication and verification of the user is programmed with Matlab (the software that is used in coding). Arduino triggers a dialogue between the hardware and the software. The same technique is used to run the motor that dispenses cash. This biometric system, which dispenses money after authenticating fingerprint and facial features instantly, alters the conventional model of an ATM that requires a physical card and password for authentication.

Pin Bhejo

This is an Android (Google Inc.’s mobile operating system) app that helps customers send their ATM pin in an encrypted format from their smartphones to the point of sale (POS) terminal of a vendor using a wireless technology (like bluetooth, infrared, etc.). On 1 December 2013, the Reserve Bank of India issued a mandate that made it compulsory to enter an ATM pin number on the shopkeeper’s POS device (card scanners) each time a purchase is made using a debit/credit card. To address safety concerns, the developers at MIT Media Lab India designed a mobile application that would enable a person to enter the ATM pin on his smartphone itself. The app would take care of the rest—transfer the pin from the phone to the POS device in an encrypted format. The fact that a customer is now entering his pin on his own phone, rather than the vendor’s device, greatly increases the security of the pin.


This is an interface for visually-challenged people. It comprises two components: a spectacle with two cameras and a touch screen. The spectacle embedded with cameras on each lens will grasp the images and convert them into physical patterns, which will appear over the touch screen and can be felt by the user. The touch screen can be placed on a smartphone or tablet too. OpenCV, a library used for image processing, helps in converting objects, numbers and patterns that are in front of the camera into designs, which can be felt to understand the things around them. This technology also helps in reading documents without the “Braille" script.

Hair Lens

This is a hair brush that will scan and monitor the scalp of a person and detect whether the person is suffering from dandruff or any other scalp issues. It will also determine the hair density by clicking images of various areas of the scalp. Coding has been done on ArduCAM (an open-source camera platform) which has been integrated for scanning the scalp. The hair brush has a camera system embedded in it. As one is brushing one’s hair, it can instantly analyse the health of the scalp and hair, including parameters such as density, strength, texture, and give a real-time reading of what one needs to do to improve the condition. It brings the hair doctor right in one’s bag and pocket.

U-Mood—THE mood painter

This is a finger ring that paints a gradient canvas on the basis of heartbeats, using simple sensors and open-source technology like Arduino. The ring detects the mood of the wearer and also creates a mood chart on a tablet or phone. This can be used to get feedback from employees, patients, etc. At an organizational level, it helps in understanding the mood and satisfaction level of employees. Depending on the changing mood, an organization’s logo will change its colour to a pre-decided one, intimating the HR department about the employee’s state of mind, thus helping in timely identification of any discomfort brewing among employees and ways to tackle it.

Khoj Track

This is an interactive game to create awareness about the importance of education in the minds of children living on the streets and motivating them to take support of a nearby non-governmental organization (NGO). The prototype displays colourful blocks on the floor that can sense footsteps. Each footstep is accompanied by pictures, music and videos. The children have fun jumping over the colourful blocks and learn new words and concepts in the process. So the prototype combines elements of fun with learning of new things. At the end, the name and details of the local NGO or educational institute appear so that the child is informed about the support system available. The bigger goal is to help in making an educated and, hence, sustainable society.

Paper Thin/Flex Pad Track

This is a foldable paper which can be used as a mobile or an iPad or a computer. Projection is done by using Kinect, a projector (from Microsoft Corp.) and C# (pronounced C sharp) programming language to do coding. It will club a laptop, iPad and smartphone into a single foldable device, which will help students and professionals to carry their daily-use gadgets on a paper.

Fast Pay

This is an app that facilitates cashless transaction with auto drivers. To transfer the money, one has to scan the quick response (QR) code sticker stuck on the auto meter with a Fast Pay app installed on the driver’s Android device. It will eventually be available on iOS and Windows devices too. The app will be linked to the user’s bank account and once it scans the QR code, the driver’s bank account number will pop up on the app following which one has to enter the amount to be transferred. To complete the transaction, the app will ask for the payee’s pin number. Both parties will be intimated by their respective banks once the transfer is made.