Samsung Solve For Tomorrow contest

Teen innovator from India wins the Samsung Solve For Tomorrow contest by inventing a gadget that may transform dementia care

17-year-old Hemesh Chadalavada from Hyderabad won the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest by creating an alert device inspired by his grandma’s Alzheimer’s.

12-year-old Hemesh Chadalavada and his grandma Jayasree, had a wonderful summer together in 2018.

At her home in Guntur, southern India, Jayasree went to make tea late one evening while Chadalavada sat alone in front of the television.

When Chadalavada walked into the kitchen after she had gone back to her bedroom, he discovered that his sixty-three-year-old grandmother forgot to switch off the gas.

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In addition to being a devoted grandma, Jayasree was well-known to Chadalavada for her high-profile work as a public servant. But she was profoundly changed by Alzheimer’s.

The incident shook Chadalavada, a self-described robotics ‘nerd’, and that’s when he decided to create a device that would assist people like his grandma.

Chadalavada, who is currently 17 years old, is about to begin producing a device that goes above the capabilities of the ones that are currently on the market to identify when persons with Alzheimer’s fall or wander.

Chadalavada has created 20 prototypes after teaching himself about robotics and electronics through YouTube videos. He has created 20 prototypes after teaching himself about robotics and electronics through YouTube videos.

He spent time in a dementia care facility to learn about the needs of the 8.8 million persons with the disease believed to live in India.

Samsung Solve For Tomorrow contest
Hemesh Chadalavada: Pic from his Instagram

During his research phase at a care facility, he concluded that the gadget had to be something light that could be worn on any part of the body. Watches feel uncomfortable and many patients take them off as they dislike wearing them.

Even though Chadalavada had a lot on his plate at school, the passing of his idol, Jayasree in 2023, and stories of other patients, strengthened his resolve.

And this is how the small, lightweight Alpha Monitor was born.

The device alerts the caregiver when the wearer starts to move, an alarm is activated, and a notification is received in case the patient falls or walks off. It can be worn as an armband or badge.

Instead of depending on wi-fi or Bluetooth, which have a limited frequency range, the Alpha Monitor uses long-range technology, also known as LoRa, which enables it to detect individuals who have walked up to 3 miles away.

In addition to taking temperature and pulse, the monitor also reminds users when to take their medications.

However, Chadalavada is aiming to use machine learning to take his idea a step further by employing it to forecast even a patient’s gait.

After defeating 18,000 other contestants in 2022, he received more than $127,000 in grants from the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest and some of the company’s best engineers served as his mentors, according to the Guardian.

Samsung Solve For Tomorrow contest
Hemesh Chadalavada: Pic from his Instagram

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Not new to innovation, Chadalavada constructed a “heat detector” at the age of 12, to check on his friends’ body temperatures while they were playing cricket.

The “heat detector” would warn them when to stop playing the sport since their body temperatures were soaring and couldn’t take the heat anymore.

Following his examinations in March, Chadalavada will complete the monitor’s last leg of adjustments to have it ready for release in September this year. He insists that the pricing should be reasonable for the majority of people.

Indian PM Modi also lauded Chadalavada for his efforts and mentioned on X, how he “really admired” him.

The young innovator intends to attend a university overseas to study robotics. His goal is straightforward, “I wish to make goods to support the needs of people in India for the whole world.”

Maya Bennett