Balkrishna C. Rao is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Design at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) in India. As a member of the Sustainable Manufacturing Group at IITM, he conducts research pertaining to sustainable manufacturing, additive manufacturing, and frugal engineering. He has been one of the early researchers in frugal engineering who has worked in various aspects of frugality related to poverty, sustainability and engineering. Other than work in manufacturing for automotive and aerospace sectors, his work in frugal innovations has led to the creation of a new type called Advanced Frugal Innovation (AFI) to account for the increasing sophistication seen in these products. He coined the term AFI. He has also developed a frugal approach to design wherein advanced and grassroots frugal products can be built from scratch. Such a frugal design tool, which uses the factor-of frugality proposed by Professor Rao, can greatly aid sustainable development in designing streamlined products for various sectors while also improving functionality. Among his other contributions, he has also developed a concept for tallying the innovative output of a country through Gross Domestic Innovation (GDI). Professor Rao earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering with emphasis on manufacturing from Purdue University in the United States.

Balkrishna C. Rao

Associate Professor, Engineering Design, IIT Madras.