Hemesh Chadalavada was just 12 years-old when he realised that his grandmother was becoming confused about her surroundings. In the summer of 2018, Hemesh and his 63-year-old grandmother – Jayasree, were enjoying a warm afternoon while sinking into the sofa, when she decided to get up to make some tea. Hemesh had never noticed any signs that she was starting to forget things, until that afternoon.
Upon her return, everything seemed normal. It was only until Hemesh made his way into the kitchen himself that he had realised Jayasree that had left the gas on. However, the pot that held the tea soaking in the sink. It was at this point that Hemesh – a self-professed nerd – decided to turn his love of gaming and technology to robotics in an attempt to help his beloved grandmother.
It is safe to say that Hemesh has been an innovator for most of his life. Whilst helping his brother with a YouTube channel in 2017, Hemesh’s editing skills caught the eye of people internationally. Fast-forward to 2024, Hemesh now has a following of over 600,000 subscribers and up to 51 million views on his videos. Many would consider this impressive, but it only gets better …
After noticing his grandmothers irregular behaviour, Hemesh put his efforts into developing a device sufferers of Alzheimer’s and their families alike. “She would get up about three of four times in the morning and go outside thinking she was on a train,” Hemesh stated in an interview with The Guardian. Devastatingly, Jayasree passed away just one year before his ground-breaking invention that has life-changing potential for individuals living with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
With an estimated 8.8 million Indians older than 60 suffering from dementia, Hemesh spent countless hours in Alzheimer’s day centres, speaking to nurses to gain research for his gadget. This resulted in some interesting briefs for his design process.
Firstly, the device could not have been a wearable item such as a watch, as co-founder of Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India A Bala Tripura Sundari stated, “it had to be something light. Many patients don’t like having to wear something they can take off.”
Going back to the drawing board, the gadget could also not be operated through Bluetooth, as the range would be far too limited. All of this is what led him to develop a monitor that measures both temperature and pulse, sending out an impulse through vibrations to remind users to take their medication. Not only does this improve users’ quality of life, but the device also predicts the movements of the patients. In this way, Hemesh is making it easier for families to be reunited with relatives who have become scared and confused of their surroundings and wandered away, much like Jayasree had done.
Just after his school exams, Hemesh beat 18,000 applicants for the Samsung-sponsored science fair. Here, he successfully demonstrated his fully equipped device for the first time. Alongside a grant of 10 million rupees, Hemesh was offered some of the top engineers at Samsung to help with the Alpha Monitor’s development and reach. Today, the Alpha Monitor just keeps getting better and better, changing our perceptions of what treatment for dementia sufferers may look like in the future.
“I want to create products to help people in India for the whole world,” Hemesh once said. His story is inspiring for young people everywhere, demonstrating how local developments can help on a global scale. For Hemesh Chadalavada, this all started with his grandmother –Jayasree, the woman who inspired the Alpha Monitor, and whose legacy will live on through it.
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