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15-YO Reaches UNICEF Problem With Robotic Reminding Customers To Take Meds

Think about having a pal who’d nudge you each time you wanted to take your drugs dose. They’d organise your drugs, hand them to you and with it a glass of water to make issues straightforward.

A cool thought, isn’t it?

Properly, that’s precisely what a Class 11 scholar at Navrachana Larger Secondary College in Gujarat’s Vadodara has innovated; albeit his creation is a miniaturised, robotic model of the stated pal.

‘Meditel’, as 15-year-old Nikhil Lemos has christened his brainchild, was born out of an harmless concept to assist his grandparents. “I observed how they might generally neglect to take their drugs,” he explains. In an try and ideate, a younger Nikhil put pen to paper and sketched what he assumed can be an answer — an alarm system.

And that was it; a doodle on the final web page of a pocket book. However a science honest on the finish of time period had him revisit this doodle. “We had been imagined to provide you with one thing revolutionary and I considered going again to this concept. That’s how Meditel took form,” he shares.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the innovation has grown with Nikhil; the 2 have shared a parallel journey, as the thought transcended from being a PowerPoint presentation to a paper mannequin to a primary prototype. From there it remodeled right into a full-blown electrical mannequin — whose nuances Nikhil discovered himself explaining to none aside from soccer legend David Beckham in November final yr.

The trajectory has been dream-like. And in a tete-a-tete with The Higher India, Nikhil lets us in on the main points.

The first Meditel model that Nikhil built when he was in Class 7
The primary Meditel mannequin that Nikhil constructed when he was in Class 7, Image supply: Nikhil

‘I simply wished to assist’

It’s a recognized undeniable fact that skipping one’s drugs dosage is to the detriment of excellent well being. However as Nikhil quickly deduced, treatment non-adherence wasn’t a one-pronged drawback. It had many sides.

“At first, I made a decision to provide you with an alarm system that may alert individuals once they wanted to take their drugs. However, ultimately, as I noticed my grandmother, I realised that even when she did keep in mind, however didn’t have water helpful, she would put it off for later.” This led to Nikhil integrating a reusable water bottle into the gadget, connected by velcro.

The third element was the capsule organiser, born in an try to assist individuals who had been prescribed a number of doses particular to their meal instances. “Meditel permits customers to set as much as six every day alarms, accommodating numerous treatment schedules like pre/put up breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” Nikhil explains. Sourcing the components and placing the gadget collectively was one factor however coding to get the alarm programs in place proved to be a problem. “This was basically the primary mannequin I used to be ever constructing from scratch,” Nikhil says.

“I grew to become savvy with the arduino — an open-source coding board — that sends a sign to the opposite components of the gadget to regulate their working.” The journey was fraught with studying and spanned months, with Nikhil refining his coding expertise, sharpening his technical palette and perfecting Meditel with every studying.

Nikhil was a panellist at the World Children's Day conference at New Delhi in 2023,
Nikhil was a panellist on the World Kids’s Day convention at New Delhi in 2023, Image supply: Nikhil

Commending Nikhil’s dedication to method, his mentor Mukesh Bind shares how his journey with Nikhil started through the World Robotic Olympiad (2019) the place they met. “Following the competitors, Nikhil began studying robotics with me. It was throughout one in every of our periods that he expressed his want to make a tool that may assist his grandfather together with his treatment.”

In 2021, Meditel was deemed full by Nikhil.

Meditel’s success is mirrored within the many accolades that line Nikhil’s cabinets — second runners-up on the Jagran Josh Training Awards within the Robotics Class (April 2024); winner of the INSPIRE Awards (2023) — a national-level science honest organised by the Division of Science and Expertise; one in every of 50 innovators on the Nationwide Kids Innovation Problem in partnership with UNICEF (2023), a panellist on the World Kids’s Day Convention in New Delhi (2023) amongst others.

However the one which surpassed all of those, Nikhil says, was the popularity from UNICEF in November final yr.

‘One of many high three moments of my life’

It isn’t each odd day that you just get to face in entrance of the legend Beckham and relay your desires to him. However Nikhil did. And he classifies this as his top-tier second; one he doesn’t take calmly. Retracing his steps main as much as it, he says it was fated. “I hadn’t deliberate it. I by no means utilized to UNICEF. In actual fact, I utilized to a different competitors hosted by the incubation centre of Gujarat College, who despatched my mission to UNICEF!”

So you may think about Nikhil’s astonishment when he obtained a name at some point in October 2023 from Sanyam Chhajed, packages supervisor at GUSEC (Gujarat College Startup and Entrepreneurship Council), informing him about an exhibition the place a number of dignitaries can be current. One factor led to a different and on 13 November, 2023, Nikhil was one in every of 5 chosen college students from throughout India presenting his work to Beckham, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

GUSEC has performed a pivotal function in his journey, Nikhil factors out, including that he has obtained immense help from the group there.

The connection is reciprocal.

As Chhajed shares, they see immense potential in Meditel. “I imagine {that a} gadget like Meditel will likely be a revolutionary product for aged individuals due to its small measurement and easy-to-use options.”

As within the case of any product-based innovation, he says optimum funding may also help it scale. The identical goes for Meditel. “The funding will assist Nikhil refine the design, make it extra compact, and improve its technical options. Moreover, funding will help in acquiring the required certifications and testing earlier than launching it out there,” he says.

The group is patenting and releasing the innovation as rapidly as doable, after assembly pre-requisite situations. The explanation for the urgency, Chhajed says, is the rising variety of well being points.

Nikhil explaining his innovation Meditel to UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham
Nikhil explaining his innovation Meditel to UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, Image supply: Nikhil

“The options provided by the gadget will enormously profit the supposed viewers. Such improvements are new to the Indian market, and at VSCIC, we imagine that Meditel needs to be well-supported and funded to achieve a big group.”

Help within the type that he has obtained from UNICEF and GUSEC is gratifying for Nikhil. “When you’ve such names backing your innovation, it instils a way of belief in it.” Particularly in healthcare, he factors out, persons are sceptical of trusting improvements. “So this enormously helps.” He provides that he sees Meditel’s scope increasing from being elderly-centric to at least one that isn’t certain by age.

This intention stems from a survey Nikhil performed in February this yr, which revealed that it wasn’t simply the aged who neglect their drugs, but in addition many kids who mirror the identical absent-mindedness.

Nikhil's innovation Meditel is a multi-functional alarm system that has a pill organiser and water bottle as well
Nikhil’s innovation Meditel is a multi-functional alarm system that has a capsule organiser and water bottle as nicely, Image supply: Nikhil

The current appears promising for Meditel, however the innovator in Nikhil has already set his sights on the long run. “I’m integrating algorithms that may predict knowledge primarily based on treatment habits. It would additionally preserve a report of how typically one forgets to take their drugs and their present well being state of affairs, and use these metrics to evaluate their future well being.”

Will Meditel be half of a bigger startup at some point?

“Possibly,” smiles Nikhil. “But when I do enterprise right into a startup, I need it to give attention to processing healthcare data that may predict individuals’s future well being. I feel that may impression the world in an even bigger means.”

Nikhil leads 'Elder Allies' that helps senior citizens with understanding technology and the basics of the digital world
Nikhil leads ‘Elder Allies’ that helps senior residents perceive know-how and the fundamentals of the digital world, Image supply: Nikhil

Whether or not it’s arising with Meditel or engaged on ‘Elder Allies’ — an initiative by way of which Nikhil and his associates train seniors the fundamentals of tech — this 15-year-old is striving to make his mark on this planet utilizing know-how as an enabler.

There are moments when doubt takes centre stage, he says. However then, he reminds himself of different youth-led initiatives which might be altering the world. “It’s comforting to know that you’ve an entire group of people that’ve completed it earlier than you and can proceed to do it. And that offers me confidence,” says Nikhil.

Edited by Pranita Bhat

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