Do you remember a time when Kumbh-Mela and such other religious pilgrimages used to report stampede every other day where hundreds people used to die? Or the recent Elphinston Bridge stampede where hundreds lost lives just due to some miscommunication and canards.

Nilay Kulkarni, who is just a 15-year-old lad, couldn’t just take these casualties. He invented a sensory MAT that could count the number of people in a crowd. It is a cloud-based crowd counting platform. This mat counts the number of people stepping on it, and also estimates the crowd density at that point. It is immensely resources at places very crowd gathers in high density like Amarnath, Kumbh-Mela etc.  If the crowd density at a point is beyond a safe threshold, the police can be alerted immediately and a stampede can be prevented.

Nilay, who is now 18 years old and is the sole reason and hero why the 2015 Kumbh-Mela held at Nashik was stampede free. He has founded his own startup called Ashioto and is now the chief technical officer.

Watch his TED talk A life-saving invention that prevents human stampedes(this would be a better link on TED website).

Nilay Kulkarni is super active on Quora and helps developers, amateur and experts around the world in solving their queries. He had  started learning programming at the age of 14 and developed this sensory MAT with the help of MIT Media Lab.

Following are his tips for starters in the field of coding:

  • Take up an online course on Coursera, Udacity or CodeAcademy
  • Once you learn some coding you should start building basic applications. The bug solving you’ll do while building things will teach you a lot
  • He prefers Python for programming because the syntax is simpler and more English like.

When asked about how can a novice programmer reach his level of expertise, here is what he writes:

“You can take a problem-solution approach which is a bit entrepreneurial in nature. By this, I mean you see a problem that you can potentially solve with software. Then you learn how to code doing whatever it takes to build the application you want to build. This requires a little bit of an idea of programming and some knowledge of the platform you’re building for. Cannot be used by complete beginners

A more traditional way of learning how to code is taking online courses, and having a methodic approach. Start with a language from basics like declaring variables, functions, etc. Then working your way up to the more advanced things. Here, the courses or tutorials you follow will help you with small examples, most of the times specific to the thing you’re currently learning. You can build up your skill-set in this way too.”

Humble as he is, he proactively shared the credit of 2015 Kumbh-Mela being stampede free with the police and armed forces.

YDPD salutes people like Nilay Kulkarni who solves real world problems through their God gifted brain.


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