Young Boy Invents Gadget To Help His Grandmother Who Suffers From Dementia

Times of India

As a young Indian teenager who proudly embraced his identity as a ‘nerd’ with a passion for robotics, Hemesh Chadalavada cherished his grandmother Jayasree with profound affection. Their bond not only enriched his life but also served as the catalyst for a remarkable journey of innovation with significant implications for Alzheimer’s patients.

At the tender age of 12, in the summer of 2018, Hemesh witnessed a moment that would forever alter his perspective. Observing his grandmother innocently enter the kitchen to prepare tea, only to later discover she had unintentionally left the gas stove on upon exiting, struck him with a blend of shock and concern.

This incident, a poignant manifestation of the challenges accompanying Alzheimer’s disease, fueled Hemesh’s determination to leverage his burgeoning expertise in robotics for a meaningful solution. The nagging question of how to ensure safety in his grandmother’s absence became an urgent quest, compelling him to channel his countless hours of YouTube tutorials into a tangible innovation.

Jayasree’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s a year prior had cast a somber shadow over their lives, and her eventual passing in 2023 due to the relentless progression of the neurodegenerative condition deepened Hemesh’s resolve to make a difference. By that time, Hemesh had conceived the groundbreaking Alpha Monitor—a discreet, badge-like device designed to revolutionize the care of Alzheimer’s patients. Embedded with sophisticated sensors and cutting-edge technology, the Alpha Monitor serves as an ever-vigilant guardian, instantly alerting caregivers and loved ones in the event of wandering or falls, thereby enhancing safety and peace of mind for both patients and their families.

In honoring the memory of his beloved grandmother, Hemesh not only transcended the boundaries of conventional adolescence but also illuminated a path towards compassionate innovation, where heartfelt empathy converges with technological ingenuity to alleviate the burdens of those grappling with Alzheimer’s disease.

“She used to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning and go outside, thinking she was on a train,” Hemesh said when he spoke to The Guardian. He had developed the wearable with information after he visited a care center run by Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India.

Hemesh was faced with skepticism when he proposed creating a wearable device resembling a watch. Critics pointed out practical challenges: patients might remove it if it was bulky or uncomfortable, and relying on Bluetooth connectivity would limit its range. Despite being a high school student, Hemesh remained resolute in his ambition to develop a market-ready wearable.

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In 2022, amidst stiff competition, he emerged as the triumphant victor among 18,000 participants in the prestigious Samsung-sponsored science fair known as Samsung Solve for Tomorrow. This remarkable achievement not only earned him a substantial $120,000 grant but also bestowed upon him the invaluable opportunity to be mentored by some of Samsung’s most seasoned engineers.

His outstanding success garnered widespread recognition, including praise from his nation’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who expressed his deep admiration for the young innovator on a public platform.

Looking ahead, Hemesh’s academic commitments will conclude in March, paving the way for him to channel his undivided attention and energies into bringing his groundbreaking invention, the Alpha Monitor, to market by September. Beyond this milestone, his aspirations extend to pursuing further studies in robotics abroad, a testament to his unyielding dedication to pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology.