The Telegraph
Friday , December 28 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Achievers 2012

Kaushik Sengupta at work

Imagine an airport security officer aiming a laser pointer at a bag and being told that it carries a bomb. Or a doctor pointing the beam at a patient’s hand and being told he has skin cancer. While these scenes sound futuristic, a DB Block youth has invented such a device that may soon be available commercially.

Kaushik Sengupta, a 29-year-old post-doctoral scholar at California Institute of Technology, has with his team invented a silicon microchip that can see through materials and show what lies beneath. This they have done using terahertz waves. The waves can penetrate through plastic, packaging materials, paper and clothes. “Besides see-through vision, the technology allows short-range ultra-fast wireless connectivity at almost 100 times of the current WiFi speed. An entire smart phone’s content can be downloaded wirelessly in a second,” says Sengupta from California.

Kaushik Sengupta
DB Block
Post-doctoral scholar at Caltech
Has invented a device that can see-through materials

The South Point School alumnus, who moved to the US after graduating from IIT Kharagpur, has been working on this project for the last three years. He and his advisor, the Iran-born Professor Ali Hajimiri, published their findings in a journal earlier this month. They have patented the technology and are calling it Distributed Active Radiator or simply, Terahertz silicon chips.

Sengupta, the son of Kunal and Bhaswati Sengupta of DB Block, says defence companies in the US have shown interest in their gadget, “but since it has multiple applications, we are contemplating what might be the best way forward,” he says, adding that he believes the technology will soon find its way into cellphones too.

“I last visited Calcutta in January 2012 for my marriage. My wife Ipsita and I will be going back in January 2013 for my brother’s wedding,” says the youth, who remembers playing cricket in the parks of Salt Lake and hanging out in the swimming pool area.

When the next SAF Games take place, three girls trained on a BD Block roof will walk on to the tatami (karate combat mat) in national colours. Ryena Gupta, Sweta Gupta and Sanjula Bhaumik have qualified to represent India by dint of their gold medal-winning performance in the 24th All India Karate-do Federation Championship.

The girls put up a sterling performance in the Team Kata (shadow-fighting) event. “This is the first time that Bengal won the gold since 2005. We were stuck at silver all these years,” says Premjit Sen, their coach who stays in BD Block.

Ryena Gupta, Sweta Gupta & Sanjula Bhaumik
VIP Road and FE Block
Karatekas who have qualified for SAF Games

The team event is extremely demanding. “We have to do everything together — step on the tatami, bow, announce the name of our fighting style, start, stop and exit. We even got to breathe in the same rhythm,” says Ryena, a 21-year-old who also got a bronze in kumite (fighting) in this year’s National Games in Jharkhand. Sister Sweta has got a gold in the National School Games in the same discipline this October.

But finding time for practice was tough with Ryena having her Company Secretary exams in early June, weeks before the tournament, and Sanjula being a student of engineering. “Often it was just the two of us practising at a time,” says Ryena, the elder of the two Gupta sisters who stay in Space Town Housing Complex on VIP Road. And when Sanjula, an FE Block girl, practised with Sweta in their karate school, Ryena would often be away. “Still, we managed to top both the state-level selection in January and the nationals thereafter. It helped that all of us have learnt karate from the same teacher,” says Sanjula, who is in her seventh year of training.

They are aware of Indian Olympic Association’s suspension from the International Olympic Committee but are keeping fingers crossed for SAF Games 2013 to happen as per schedule in Delhi. “Our new year wish is the SAF Games gold,” says Sanjula.



Asoke Mustafi of FD Block received The Telegraph Education Foundation Special Honour at The Telegraph School Awards 2012 in September. The 78-year-old who coached children at Dukhiram Memorial Cricket Coaching Centre at Aryan Club has, till two years ago, also coached children in FD Park. (Rashbehari Das)