Teenager develops device to help Alzheimer patients

Hyderabad: Meet Hemesh Chadalavada, a 17-year-old prodigy from Hyderabad, whose journey from building a 'heat detector' at the age of 12 to inventing a groundbreaking device, the Alpha Monitor, showcases his relentless pursuit of innovation.

Currently immersed in his 12th board exams, Hemesh is not your typical teenager. His Alpha Monitor, designed to aid those with Alzheimer's, goes beyond the capabilities of existing devices. Unlike conventional options limited by wifi or Bluetooth, the Alpha Monitor, using long-range technology (LoRa), can detect a person more than a mile away in cities and three miles in the countryside.

This device, born out of Hemesh's deep empathy for his grandmother, Jayasree, who battled Alzheimer's, is not just a beacon for those who wander or fall; but also proof of the fusion of compassion and technology, which are central to the boy's products. Hemesh said that his inspiration came from a pivotal moment when in 2019, he discovered his grandmother had left the gas on, highlighting the urgency of a solution for Alzheimer's patients. "The Alpha Monitor, a light and compact wearable, not only alerts caregivers when a wearer moves but also measures pulse and temperature. Soon, I hope to incorporate machine-learning technology to anticipate patients' movement patterns," he told Deccan Chronicle.

Hemesh's journey is not limited to the Alpha Monitor. His foray into AI includes developing the 'universis' app, assisting thousands with career counselling based on their interests and scores - born out of a need to help out his friends trying to figure out what they wanted to do when they got out of school. The app proved its worth, even surpassing the results of a high-priced career counsellor. Hemesh recalled, "I remember this one student dropping a text to me saying he paid a career counsellor a bomb (more than a lakh) and received even better results with this for free. It's things like these that make my day."

Driven by a passion for solving real-world problems, Hemesh doesn't seek breaks; his work is his relaxation. "But occasionally I do read books and also watch films - I'm a true-blue Hyderabadi that way," he said. He added that films do play a big role in how he visualises his products and storytelling has a huge impact on how he makes and presents a product.

Calling 'feedback' his biggest asset, he said that learning from what went wrong has only helped him make better products, and looks forward to feedback more than mere appreciation.

On what's next, Hemesh said that a prominent problem that he's noticed of late is the challenge of people's lessening attention span. He wants to counter this and is working on solutions to make a goal-based, distraction-obstruction product.

The boy, who has been receiving revenue since his class 10, recalls giving his 10th boards and coming home to do a sales pitch meeting over a video call. For someone like that, ideas, products, and solutions trump revenue, as the latter will always follow, he believes.

Hemesh, at 13, received the Bal Puraskar, India’s highest civilian honour for students, for the 'Alpha Monitor' and in 2022, won the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest and received a grant of $40,000.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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