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Kerala engineers who developed robot to clean manholes are on a mission to end manual scavenging

Scroll | 27 February 2017 | Thiruvananthapuram |

Bandicoot successfully completed a trial run in Thiruvananthapuram this month.

Genrobotics team with Bandicoot | Genrobotics

Manual scavenging is outlawed in India, yet thousands of people are still engaged in the work and many die cleaning sewers. According to the Safai Karmachari Andolan, a movement to eradicate manual scavenging, at least 1,470 manual scavengers died at work between 2010 and 2017. There are an estimated 1.8 lakh people in the country working as manual scavengers. Now, though, a group of engineers from Kerala may have found a way to end the “dehumanising practice”. They have designed a spider-shaped robot that cleans manholes and sewers with precision. Called Bandicoot, it has already successfully completed a trial run in Thiruvananthapuram, unclogging five manholes filled with plastic, filth, medical waste and sediments. The robot, which takes 15 minutes to clean small sewers and around 45 minutes to unclog bigger ones, was developed by Genrobotics, a company founded by nine young engineers in Thiruvananthapuram two years ago. “Our ultimate aim is to end manual scavenging in India,” said Vimal Govind, the company’s 25-year-old chief executive officer. “It is time to change manholes to roboholes.” Following the successful trial earlier this month, the Kerala Water Authority has decided to use Bandicoot to clean all sewers in Thiruvananthapuram.

Bandicoot cleans a manhole during the trial run in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo courtesy Genrobotics

Ray of hope

India has enacted two laws – the Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines Prohibition Act, 1993 and the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 – to eventually eradicate the practice of manually cleaning, carrying and disposing human excreta and garbage from sewers. Yet, manual scavengers across India still clean sewers at great risk to their lives. Most of the time, they are not provided the mandatory safety gear by their employers, largely municipal agencies, making them vulnerable to fatal accidents. Even a protective cap is a luxury for most of them, let alone jackets, gloves and masks. As a consequence, many die from inhaling poisonous gases accumulated inside manholes, oxygen depletion, heat stress or from falling down the pit. The overwhelming majority of manual scavengers are from Dalit communities. It is a harrowing life.

Bandicoot, thus, is a ray of hope. It only requires a person to operate it from a safe distance. The 80-kg robot lifts the heavy metal cover on its own, drops its arm into the manhole, scoops out the solid waste and dumps it in a bucket. “All operations can be viewed on a monitor,” Govind explained. “The robot can also be used to check the sewage apart from jetting the sewer lines.” Genrobotics plans to teach manual scavengers to operate the robot with the aim of rehabilitating them. “Bandicoot will make the life of manhole cleaners safer,” Govind said. “It will help them earn a decent living without fear of losing jobs and lives. It will also break the caste system. Bandicoot will ensure manholes in India will remain clean without losing human lives.”

In good company

In 2015, nine mechanical engineering students from MES Engineering College in Kuttippuram, Malappuram, to explore the possibility of developing robots. “All of us are passionate about robotics and we began to exchange ideas and the group was immediately given the name Team Genrobotics,” Govind said. “We decided to retain the name when we launched the company in 2016.” The idea was to build on a powered exoskeleton they had developed in the final year of college and which had won them many accolades. A powered exoskeleton is a wearable mobile machine that allows limb movement with increased strength and endurance. Such machines are used by soldiers to carry heavy objects and by fire fighters during emergency operations. After finishing college in 2016, they began to work on developing medical and industrial exoskeletons. But paucity of funds hampered them. “In order to raise funds we began to work for different firms,” said Govind. In 2017, the Kerala Startup Mission, a start-up incubator launched by the state government, offered to fund their project. “Our robotics dream got wings once again and we regrouped soon,” Govind said.

An illustration of Bandicoot lifting a manhole cover. Photo courtesy Genrobotics

A bright idea

The team then went to meet the state’s Information Technology Secretary M Sivasankar to discuss their ideas. Quite unexpectedly, he asked the engineers whether they could develop a robot to clean manholes. “A manual scavenger’s photograph published in a newspaper that morning triggered his suggestion,” Govind said. “We readily agreed.” They set to work immediately, studying the different types of manholes, speaking to manual scavengers to understand the cleaning methods and watching documentaries and videos on manual scavenging. “It helped us understand the scourge of manual scavenging,” Govind said. “We decided to go ahead with the project as we felt it was high time we ended the practice.” In one documentary, Govind heard a manual scavenger saying God had made them to do this work. “The statement shocked me,” he recalled. “At that time I decided that it was my duty to rescue these people from this deadly job.” The team officially started work on the project in June 2017 and launched Bandicoot’s beta version in January 2018. “We are indebted to Kerala Startup Mission and the Kerala Water Authority for helping us realise our dream,” Govind said. The research and development work was done and the robot was assembled at the Kerala Water Authority’s office in Thiruvananthapuram. “We procured the components, except the advanced camera and waterproof material, from different parts of India and customised them for our needs,” Govind said. “Approximate coast of one robot is Rs 10 lakh but the price will come down when it is mass produced. But we can finalise the price only after talking to government.” – Courtesy


AICTE to begin new ‘Solar Urja Lamp’ (SoUL) MillionSoUL schemes for rural students

THE ASIAN AGE | AISHWARYA IYER |  Feb 20, 2018 |   AICTE to begin new schemes for students
Under this intervention, one million children in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan have been given the solar lamps. Module one consists of a lamp that provides LED light and a solar panel that is placed outside under the sun.

Mumbai: The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT B) have initiated ‘Solar Urja Lamp’ (SoUL) that aims to provide solar study lamps to the rural students through skill transfer to local communities. Through this project, the institute is lighting up homes with renewable energy and providing rural women with the chance to become entrepreneurs.  According to an IIT-B professor Chetan Singh Solanki (who is part of the project), there are two types of solar lamps – module one and module two. Module one consists of a lamp that provides LED light and a solar panel that is placed outside under the sun. Module two solar lamp also consists of a mobile charging pin. The battery life of these lamps is 10 to 12 hours when on low mode and 5 to 6 hours when on high mode. Under this intervention, one million children in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan have been given the solar lamps. Last year, the ministry of new and renewable energy sanctioned the project after which around 70 lakh solar study lamps will be provided in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.

Solanki who is from the epartment of Energy Science and Engineering of IIT B and initiated the project in the year 2013 said it was done keeping in mind the eradication of kerosene lamps in villages especially among school children. “We fail to realise but kerosene lamps emit carbon dioxide fumes which are inhaled by the children causing damage to their body. Also, as these lamps are inflammable there are high chances of mishaps like fire causing burn injuries or even death. Hence, the idea of using renewable energy (solar) is safe and this will build a solar eco system,” said Harshad Supal, member of the technical team of SoUL project. Through this project, they want to promote education among the students but in an environmental friendly manner. Faculty and students of IIT-B, along with the supply of these lamps will be training the women of villages to let them understand the solar technology. Apart from the lamps, IIT-B aims to introduce other solar products like home lighting, water pumps, solar cooking to build a solar eco system. – Courtesy     /      Million SoUL  Take a Look at –   http://www.millionsoul.iitb.ac.in/

IIT’s first food testing lab unveiled in Kharagpur

Outlook | 10 January 2018  |  Kharagpur | [West Bengal]

Representational Image

January 10 : The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) has established its first food testing lab at its Kharagpur campus. The agricultural and food engineering department’s Analytical Food Testing Laboratory received the National Accreditation Board for Calibration and Testing Laboratories (NABL) accreditation, which empowered the IIT Kharagpur to certify food items for their nutritional value and also check for adulteration. After getting the accreditation, the IIT has already started the process of certification for some Kolkata-based company for fish items and neem oil.

“This is for the first time any lab in any of the IITs or NITs in the country has been given this accreditation. Now, we can go for analysis of any major, macro as well as micronutrients present in the food items. Anyone having any suspicion in their mind of plastic rice, egg, they can bring it here and after analysis and using the most sophisticated high-end equipment, we can tell if there is any adulteration”, said Rintu Banerjee, professor of the department of agriculture and food engineering and in-charge of the Analytic Food Testing Lab, IIT Kharagpur. “My PhD is on protein and the system here is protein sequencer PPSQ31A. This is the only system here in the whole eastern region. The protein in the food items is made of amino acids. Through this system, we can get to know which essential amino acid is present and which is not”, Jagriti Singh, a PhD student, told . She added that this sequencer is qualitative-based and has liquid chromatography. “We can detect pathogenic particles and allergens”. – Courtesy

Indian American Technologist Nambi Seshadri Honored with the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal

India-West Staff Reporter |

Nambi Seshadri

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers recently announced that it has awarded Nambi Seshadri with its prestigious Alexander Graham Bell Medal. Seshadri, Indian American chief technologist at San Jose, Calif.-based Quantenna Communications Inc., was selected for the honor for his exceptional contributions to wireless, networking and engineering. In addition to this high honor, Seshadri’s prize consists of a gold medal, a bronze replica, a certificate, and an honorarium, according to a Quantenna Dec. 5 news release. “The innovations by Nambi form the basis for some of today’s Wi-Fi and other wireless networking standards and systems, now in use by billions of Wi-Fi users,” said Dr. Sam Heidari, chairman and chief executive at Quantenna. “We are honored to have such a distinguished and accomplished chief technologist on our team. The process is extraordinarily competitive, this is a great lifetime accomplishment and one of the most prestigious honors that one may receive in our field.”

In addition to serving as chief technologist to Quantenna, Seshadri is a professor of electrical and computer engineering for U.C. San Diego. Prior to Quantenna, Seshadri was senior vice president and chief technology officer of the broadband and connectivity group at Broadcom Corporation where he was responsible for many of the wireless initiatives, spearheading the development of technologies such as 2G, 3G and 4G cellular communications, mobile multimedia, low-power WiFi and many others, IEEE said. From 2011-2014, he also served as the general manager of the Mobile Platforms Business Unit. Prior to joining Broadcom Corporation, he was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Lab Laboratories and head of communications research at AT&T Shannon Labs, where he contributed to fundamental advances in wireless communication theory and practice. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2000 and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering USA in 2012 and as a foreign member of the Indian National Academy of Engineering in 2013.

A graduate of the Regional Engineering College in Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, India, and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Seshadri holds about 200 patents. He was a co-recipient of the IEEE Information Theory Paper Award in 1999 for his paper with Tarokh and Calderbank on space-time codes, and his JSAC paper on space-time coding modems with Naguib, Tarokh and Calderbank was selected by the IEEE Communication Society for publication in “The Best of the Best: Fifty Years of Communications and Networking Research” in 2003. The IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal was established in 1976 by the IEEE Board of Directors in commemoration of the centennial of the telephone’s invention, to provide recognition for outstanding contributions to telecommunications, according to the institute’s website. The invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 was a major event in electrotechnology. It was instrumental in stimulating the broad telecommunications industry that has dramatically improved life throughout the world. As an individual, Bell himself exemplified the contributions that scientists and engineers have made to the betterment of mankind, IEEE said.- Courtesy

Indian-American, Kaushik Sengupta gets top Bell Labs Prize for pioneering transceiver technology

News India Times |  Staff Writer |  

An Indian-American Princeton University professor has been awarded a prestigious prize for his pioneering work on transceiver technology. Kaushik Sengupta, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University, was the top winner in the 2017 Bell Labs Prize, winning a $100,000 award for his invention of transceiver chip technology that has the potential to improve wireless communications and open the door for new applications by reducing size and cost. The Bell Labs Prize recognizes disruptive technology innovations with the potential to solve critical challenges faced by humanity over the next ten years. This year’s competition, the fourth since the award’s inception, attracted more than 330 proposals from 35 countries. Sengupta will be given the opportunity to collaborate with researchers at Nokia Bell Labs to develop his research into the next generation of integrated technology employing extremely high frequency waves, a Dec. 14, press release from the University said. A 2007 B.Tech and Integrated M.Tech graduate in electronics and electrical communications engineering, from Indian Institute of Technology, Sengupta did his MS in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2008, and earned his Ph.D from the same institution in 2012. Silicon-based integrated circuits have gone through a generational change in the last ten years, according to Sengupta, who says “We believe future innovations in such diverse high-impact technology will not be achieved through innovations in one discipline, but through mutli-thronged approach and a close alliance of various allied scientific disciplines in a synergistic environment.”

In pursuit of this vision, he adds, “We innovate on both techniques and architectures that can leverage the strengths of concepts and techniques across disciplines and blend them to create novel and high-performance integrated systems.” His research interests including Silicon-based RF, mm-Wave and THz circuits and systems; Onchip active electromagnetic field synthesis and control for sensing and actuation; self-healing and reconfigurable integrated circuits and systems in Silicon; as well as theoretical understanding of fundamental limits of circuits and related systems. Sengupta has received several awards over the course of his career, including the IBM Ph.D Fellowship for 2011-2012, and India’s Prime Minister Gold Medal from IIT Kharagpur in 2007. Nokia announced the top three winners of its fourth annual Bell Labs Prize Dec. 13. This year’s competition attracted more than 330 proposals from 35 countries, which were narrowed down to around 20 semi-final applications shortlisted for collaboration with Bell Labs researchers over a two-month period. These refined semi-final proposals were then reviewed by the Bell Labs leadership team and the nine finalists selected, with each finalist having the chance to extend their collaboration with leading researchers at Bell Labs.  Seven well known scientists from the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields chose the three finalists, with Sengupta winning the top spot. – Courtesy

Bennett University gets artificial intelligence boost with super computer

The Times of India | TNN | Dec 1, 2017 |

Vishal Dhupar (left) signing an MoU with BU VC Yajulu Medury

NOIDA: In a major boost to entrepreneurial education, Bennett University (BU) in Greater Noida has become the first private educational institute in the country to get an AI (artificial intelligence) super computer, after it signed an MoU with American tech firm NVIDIA to set up a Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence at the varsity campus on Thursday. The facility will enable budding researchers in the field of engineering, mathematics, biotechnology, etc, to carry out multi-disciplinary research projects on specific industry-related problems with greater speed and visualisation. “Our focus is on smart living and healthcare applications, using artificial intelligence, deep learning and data science,” said Dr Yajulu Medury, vice-chancellor, Bennett University. To begin with, the university’s engineering department, along with its Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, will seek solutions for specific industry-related problems at the new centre, through specific research projects which PhD students of computer science, mechanical engineering, biotechnology and physics will work upon.

Dr Suneet Tuli, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said the varsity is already in touch with an Indian handset company to explore ways of indigenising mobile phones. “This super computer is different from older iterations, because it is more graphics-based. It thus processes graphical information very fast,” he said. With focus on deep learning — a type of machine-learning method — the collaboration will also help design a specialised curriculum for the subject. Joint workshops in AI, deep learning techniques and problem-solving for students will be held, and tech talks will be conducted at the varsity campus. Explaining how the super computer would help students realise their ideas, Vishal Dhupar, managing director, NVIDIA, South Asia, said “The magic of deep learning is that here, the system continues to learn. It is not like traditional software. It keeps on adding features that anybody might be learning and wanting to add. Along with this, we are bringing to the students academic courses tailored specifically to Indian requirements, but with a complete framework, from teaching to evaluation. We’ll also bring to the table a chance for engineering students to take models and make them applicable to businesses.”  For the learning part, the pre-requisite is a basic learning in fields of linear algebra, calculus, probability, statistics, programming and a computer language, said Tuli, adding that programmes will be rolled out for other disciplines at a later stage. – Courtesy

13-year-old Indian AI developer Tanmay Bakshi vows to train 100,000 coders

Khaleej Times |  Sherouk Zakaria | Dubai  |  November 22, 2017 |

More young people are needed to work on the backend, says the youngest IBM Watson Developer

Tanmay Bakshi

The youth must be equipped with coding and algorithm skills to operate Artificial Intelligence technologies that already occupy big part of modern lives, urged 13-year-old AI Developer. Tanmay Bakshi, the youngest IBM Watson Developer and neural network architect made it his mission to reach 100,000 aspiring coders to help them innovate and learn along their journey of coding.  Speaking during the first day of the Knowledge Summit, the Indian teenager said to meet expectations and demand of AI that plays critical part of our lives, more young people are needed to work on the backend and fill up thousands of jobs that remain vacant. “There’s a lack of resources for beginners who want to elevate knowledge of coding to next level of AI and Deep Learning. While knowledge and technology itself is everywhere, the resources to use that technology isn’t, so this gap needs to be filled,” said Bakshi

The teenager, based in Canada, is a coach at the Fourth Industrial Revolution Organization whose goal is to teach youth specific skills identified by institute of the future for effective participation in future workplaces. So far, he has reached 5,200 young aspiring coders. “These skills are critical to our future and we are trying to get these skills out for everyone,” said Bakshi, author of textbook on the programming language called “Swift” for beginners. With hundreds of data science jobs and neural network architecture available, Bakshi said the appropriate training and skills are required to fill these vacancies. Important of collaboration between humans and robots. Getting into AI since he was 11 and developing his first AI project at the age of 12, Bakshi started his own YouTube channel “Tanmay Teaches” six years ago to educate the youth on computing, programming, machine learning, math, science and neuro network. With over 156,000 subscribers, Bakshi filmed over 150 videos to date.  The young algorithm-ist, who built his first app for the iPhone when he was only nine, stressed on having collaboration between humans and AI in the workplace. He defied the myth that robots will ever replace humans or take away their jobs.

On the contrary, he said, AI will actually help open up hundreds of new jobs. “AI will never overpower humans due to its ability to make naïve mistakes that humans cannot make. Since AI isn’t biological and doesn’t have hundreds of trillions of connections that humans have, it doesn’t own enough abstract or deep enough thinking to replace humans,” noted Bakshi. At the same time, humans are also capable of making mistakes that AI would never make. “These machines have the ability to make unbiased decisions based on information it is given, which tends to be more accurate that our decisions as humans. On the long run, this will prevent massive mistakes from happening in medicine and healthcare, for example, which can impact someone’s life,” said Bakshi. AI, in fact, must be used as a tool to make our lives easier. Bakshi emphasized on bringing powerful collaboration of man and machine to the workplaces worldwide, which is what “Computational Thinking” is about. “The reason we are afraid of AI is because we aren’t in the backend yet to take a look at how it works. If we are controlling it, we will be much more comfortable when we see what it’s capable of doing in making our lives easier,” said Bakshi. “We will have many jobs controlling and training AI because machines cannot speak for themselves.” Currently working on a book about simple beginning to Deep Learning with IBM Watson, the young author is proving his point strong by developing AI projects to improve security, business and healthcare field. His upcoming AI projects include facial recognition systems for security, a crisis-detecting system in businesses and developing cognitive technologies to help communication among people with special needs. – Courtesy  /      Click here to view- YouTube channel “Tanmay Teaches”

Delhi boy Tirthak Saha in Forebes list, all about the electrical engineer that could not make it to DU

Nov 22, 2017 | 17:17 IST | Times Now Digital |

Image Credit: Facebook/Tirthak Saha

New Delhi: Everyone knows Mark Zuckerberg, Malala Yousafzai, Michael Phelps but not many know of the Delhi boy who has joined the great names in the Forebes’ 30 under 30 list. Introducing Tirthak Saha, the Delhi boy who aspired to study Astrophysics but failed to make it to Delhi University by a few irrelevant percentage. Not giving up, he reached out to pursue his dreams. From that to an entry in the coveted Forebe’s list of 30 under 30, here is all about the 25 year old electrical engineer and his contribution. The 25 year old’s journey from Delhi to US, where he now lives and works is all about determination of pursuing the dreams and taking life one step at a time. His father is a government school teacher and his mother is a postal department employee. After class 10th, his mother recalls in her interview with TOI, he did not get the right guidance. The dip in class 12 marks dashed his hopes of finding place in the coveted Delhi University or making it to IIT Delhi. While they did consider dropping a year and gunning for IIT Delhi, his parents decided that there ought to be another way.

Choosing the road less travelled, his father Pradip Saha shared, “We decided that IIT was not the only avenue and there were other institutions offering similar standards of learning.” Tirthak then enrolled in the electrical engineering course at Manipal University’s International Centre for Applied Science. Determined to make the most of what he had, he worked hard and was chosen to study at Drexel University in Philadelphia on a scholarship. And the universe fell in place. He went on to complete his Bachelor of Science from Drexel University. With opportunities available, he designed an origami-based modular solar panel array for mini satellites while doing a stint at NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant. Luck favours the prepared mind and he was picked by Americal Electric Power, AEP. The company was in a lookout for someone who could innovate their power grid system, the company, on meeting Tirthak, created a post for him, that of Grid Modernisation Engineer.

While working he has been involved in the research work on power generation and distribution, which has won him the recognition by Forbes. He believes that power is not a luxury but a right. At present, his work involves incorporating innovations and smart grid technology to the ageing grids across US. Competing for an innovation challenge at AEP, Saha worked on a Tirthak remembered the electricity blackout in Delhi and most of north India in July 2012. “It was a tipping point, I guess. I believe power should not be a luxury but a basic right of life,” he said. Explaining his work, he said that the ageing electric grids in US were nearly a century old and hadn’t seen much innovation and he was incorporating smart grid technology to make AEP’s grid safer and more reliable. In a recent innovation challenge held by AEP, Saha presented a project which is to create a virtual power plant-like linked network of behind-the-meter energy storage units in order to realise benefits of energy aggregation. The project was judged second and was the catatlyst that landed him the coveted place in the Forbes’ list. –  Courtesy

QuEST innovation centre launched at College of Engineering Trivandrum (CET)

The Times of India | TNN | Nov 22, 2017 |

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: QuEST Global, a pioneer in providing global engineering solutions, has launched a QuEST innovation centre (QIC) at College of Engineering Trivandrum (CET).  This initiative will provide training to students in cutting-edge engineering technology streams including IoT, deep learning and embedded systems and will help in bridging the technology gap between academia and industry. The training program at the QIC will commence in mid-January.

The initiative, launched at CET, will serve as a platform for students to interact with subject matter experts in the engineering services industry and enhance their knowledge.  The two year program will be open to students in the fifth semester at CET and they can choose their streams for which they will receive course materials including class room and online trainings, and mentoring from industry veterans. Initially, students of electronics and communication, computer science, electrical and applied electronics branches at CET will be eligible to enroll for this initiative. – Courtesy  /   http://www.qis.co.in/

Chennai girl Akshaya Shanmugam makes it to Forbes list with tool to combat addictions

The Times of India | Ranjani Ayyar | TNN | Nov 16, 2017 |

Akshaya Shanmugam

CHENNAI: For the second year in a row, a Chennai native is among the innovators and entrepreneurs in the Forbes’ ’30 under 30′ list in the area of healthcare. The 2018 edition includes Akshaya Shanmugam, 29, the CEO of Lumme Inc., which is cracking the code to beat addictive behaviour by combining wearable technology, machine learning, and behavioural psychology. In January this year, 27-year-old Vivek Kopparthi had made it to the 2017 list for his contributions in neonatal care technology. After completing her schooling at Chettinad Vidyashram, Shanmugam went on to pursue engineering at Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College. In 2009, she moved to the US for higher studies. While Shanmugam was pursuing her PhD in an area that involves developing health monitoring systems outside hospitals, she met Abhinav Parate who was working on a thesis with wearables. With Parate and a few professors, Shanmugam set up Lumme to solve the global addiction problem. “Our platform automatically detects addictive behaviour, predicts indulgence in addictive behaviour, and prevents it by delivering clinically validated interventions. It also helps individuals gain better insights into their daily life and helps them understand the why, how, and what surrounding their lifestyle choices,” said Shanmugam.

A CUT ABOVE THE REST: Akshaya Shanmugam, the CEO of Lumme Inc., is among the innovators and entrepreneurs in the Forbes’ ’30 under 30′ list in the area of healthcare. The technology is in the process of being clinically validated and Shanmugam hopes to launch the product in the market by the summer of 2018. “The first phase of our launch is the smoking cessation platform. We will tie up with corporates so they can include this as part of their employee wellness programmes,” she said. ‘Predictions made with 95% accuracy in 2 trials’. Explaining how the platform would work for a person who smokes, Shanmugam says for the first two weeks, users wear the smartwatches and go about their routine. The platform passively monitors smoking behaviour and looks at other factors like the time of the day, their movements and social interactions. Itthen makes an assessment of the smoking patterns of the users and predicts when they are likely to smoke next. Based on the prediction, the platform is able to send an alert 6 minutesbefore they are abouttolight a cigarette. “We have had two national scale clinical trials and are in the midst of the third. With the first two, we were able to make predictions with95% accuracy,” shesaid. This work is the outcome of research conducted at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Yale School of Medicine. Lumme is funded by the National Institutes of Health and has raised $1.7 million in funding. “It is quite an honour to be part of this list. It is a validation that there is potential in the technology that we have developed. This only drives us further to make meaningful contributions to the field of healthcare,” said Shanmugam.  – Courtesy