22 year old researcher and philanthropist, Kuldeep Singh Rajput has been working on various healthcare projects and developing solutions for the disabled. He shares his journey with Patricia Mascarenhas.
Tell us about your innovations?
I have worked on three major projects:
1) TalkAble: A talking glove. It is a low-cost assistive technology for people who are deaf and mute. The user wears the glove and uses sign language to communicate. The glove automatically converts the mechanism of signs into voice. This bridges the gap between hearing impaired and normal people. It opens doors for development and empowers them in the field of education, employment and quality of life.
2) Brain Computer Interaction: A wheelchair for the paralysed which can be controlled using human brain waves. The wheelchair, through brain waves can rover the itself in any direction (mental thought and eye blink). We have also designed complete home automation system using this concept.
3) mECG: Mobile cardiovascular diagnosis device. Heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest are major public health problems. Continuous wearable ECG monitoring can have a big impact on diagnosis and management of these diseases. So our team “mECG” along with MIT Media Lab, Boston have come up with a mobile wearable ECG monitoring system. The device is in form of a wearable belt which is water-proof, uses two electrodes which are dry to extract ECG signal and wireless transmits the data onto a mobile application. The mobile application live streams the ECG signal and continuously analyses the data and generates a diagnostic report with various parameters. The belt also has an on-board SD card storage. So, the ECG recorded can be sent to any doctor of clinic anywhere in the world to assist medication.
What are the challenges you faced?
The key challenge was to scale an idea and ensure that it reaches the needy. Innovating medical healthcare diagnostic devices is a challenge. It requires a dedicated collaborative work between doctors and technologists, which is minimal in India. We need to understand our customers. In healthcare, the buyer and the user are not always the same individual, so figuring out who you are going to approach is hard.
What role did your teachers, friends and family play? How did they influence your interests?
My family has always walked beside me, supporting and letting me do what I loved. My professors (BTech prof., Uma Mudenagudi and BL Desai) (Ramesh Raskar, Rohan Puri and Dr Maulik Majmudar from MIT Media Lab) always supported and mentored me, and gave me thre required push to achieve what I worked on. My mECG team including Arjun Pola, Angad Daryani, Vidya Mansur, Pradeep PJ and Raghuveer Surupa without which mECG wouldn’t happen.
What are your future plans?
I will be pursuing a PhD at National University of Singapore. I have developed a keen interest in innovating low cost, portable healthcare diagnostic devices. So I’ll be working on this. My goal is to reach those 72 per cent of rural India who lack healthcare facilities by providing them low cost medical healthcare devices. Wireless technology has evolved and there is a need to use this technology to innovate medical devices to make it easily accessible. Also, I plan to take the project “mECG” ahead. We are carrying out clinical trials in Mumbai hospitals. We plan to launch the product latest by January 2015.