“Talks don’t help anyone out of poverty. Awareness doesn’t reduce pollution, grow food or heal the sick. These take doing. The solutions are here. Great inventions that generate clean energy, that make fresh water and improve our health,” says Indian American billionaire, Manoj Bhargava who has pledged to donate 99% of his money to charity.
Bhargava attended Princeton University for one year after which he went back to India, where he lived in an ashram as a monk for 12 years. On his return to the States, he went on to become the founder and CEO of a consumer products company, Living Essentials. In 2004, the company developed the product “5-Hour Energy”, a concoction of caffeine-infused B vitamins, making him one of the wealthiest Indians in America.
“I realized that we were making a lot of money here. What do I do with this?” he laughs. “My approach to things is, let’s do stuff. Invent stuff. Make a difference in other people’s lives. Our goal is, if you invent stuff that can be used long term, that is probably the most fundamental change you can make.” he adds.
Currently his team is working on the project Billions in Change which looks at inventions in the areas of water, power and health because they believe in making a difference in that one thing which will go on to affect hundreds of things.
Their energy invention is known as the “Free electric” which uses human mechanical energy as the source. If you pedal for an hour, the Free Electric which is a hybrid bicycle, generates energy for 24 hours.
The obvious advantages of this invention are that it causes no pollution and the energy generated is not dependent on season, storms, drought or any other factors. While Bhargava admits bicycles producing electricity is not a new concept, he says his device will be more efficient than the alternatives. The machine is also simple and easy to fix. Most people know how to fix a bike and hence can have electricity for the rest of their lives.
Mr. Bhargava says that the entire idea of this invention is to alleviate the poor. He feels that the most fundamental of their problems is water and energy. By March 2016 he plans implement 10,000 units in rural India with the help of the government by taking one village at a time.
Their next energy invention is called Limitless Energy. The aim of this model is to bring unlimited energy from underground to the surface, pollution-free. By using graphene cables, they aim to bring to the surface only the heat from underground. Bhargava plans to implement this in Singapore after testing, which seems to be the most neutral and receptive country.
The availability of fresh water affects rich and poor alike. For rich countries, the availability of fresh water means global, economic stability. For poor countries, it’s the foundation of life, livelihood and health. Their water invention is known as “The Rainmaker“. The Rainmaker claims to mimic nature in its method of converting sea water or dirty water into distilled water or any level of clean water for drinking and agriculture.
The machine has no parts that could wear off and is completely automatic. A single machine can generate a 1000 gallons of water a minute. This idea could be implemented by placing the desalination machine on the shore or place hundreds of these machines on a barge a few miles off shore. The machine being below doesn’t pump water, the water just flows into it, thereby keeping the wildlife of that region safe.
The healthcare system for both rich and poor is inadequate. It focuses on treating illness. But a more sensible approach is to prevent illness. Technologies that help prevent illness exist. They need to be implemented for the benefit of people – free from profit seekers and government red tape.
Their fourth invention is in the field of medical science called “Renew” or The ECP (External Counter Pulsation) project.
The ECP squeezes blood from the legs to the core body to assist the heart. It aims to enhance circulation whose poor functioning is the fundamental underlying cause for many diseases.
Not having any ailments is not wellness. The idea they claim is not to treat illness, but to treat wellness.
How can we help?
“You can help. Not with money, but with your voice. If you like what Billions in Change is all about, tell others – friends, co workers and officials in local, state and national government. We have the technologies to change the lives of billions of people. With your help, these technologies will be adopted and implemented quickly. Join us and make a lasting impact on our world” he claims.
Watch the Billions in Change Official Film that explains their philosophy and their inventions in detail.