A bet­ter, cheaper in­cu­ba­tor

Bloomberg Businessweek (Asia) - - FRONT PAGE -

Utkarsh Tan­don

In the fifth grade, I was surf­ing YouTube and saw a video of Muham­mad Ali dur­ing the torch re­lay at the 1996 Olympics. His hands were shak­ing, so I looked on­line and re­al­ized he had Parkin­son’s. It made me want to build some­thing to help peo­ple with the dis­ease. It took a few years—I’m cur­rently 16. I de­signed a “smart ring” that uses Blue­tooth and an iOS app to col­lect data on things like what time of day the tremors are more se­vere. The data go into a re­port doc­tors can use to bet­ter treat their pa­tients. I work at a desk in the garage. I spend a few hours there ev­ery night af­ter wrap­ping up my home­work, sol­der­ing the rings for my Kick­starter cam­paign. I’m ship­ping them to back­ers soon, 25 of them. Most are Parkin­son’s pa­tients.

Ray Avery

Gen­er­ally, dis­rup­tive technology doesn’t come from big cor­po­ra­tions. I’ve got a num­ber of in­ven­tions that came from think­ing out­side of the box, and you do that if you’re in the garage. You try to crack things, and you can be in there all night. We’re taking com­pli­cated med­i­cal de­vices and mak­ing them sim­ple, cheap, and durable. We al­ways work on cus­tomer-cen­tric de­sign, and that in­volves ev­ery­thing that you know about the cus­tomer and ev­ery­thing the cus­tomer may want, while try­ing to fore­tell the fu­ture. If you get that right, it has longevity.

Mona Zaki

I’ve created an app that lo­cates miss­ing per­sons glob­ally with­out GPS. I travel back and forth from Hous­ton, be­cause I have a home in Egypt. I stay at my brother’s house, and a few years ago I de­cided to work on the ping­pong ta­ble in the garage. It of­fers a lot of space to do a lot of draw­ings. For the user’s path—the first page, or lo­gin, on the app—I re­ally need space to lay it out. The color is re­ally calm­ing to work with.

Christo Ros­souw

Grow­ing up, when stuff broke, my mother used to give it to me and I’d make some­thing else out of it. I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in up­grad­ing stuff. My lat­est project is the Re-Lit, a light that fits onto a bulb or tube lamp. It has a mini so­lar panel that con­verts light created by the bulb into elec­tric­ity that charges an internal bat­tery. We have a lot of power out­ages, so the de­vice is a backup. When I started on my pro­to­type, I had to travel 150 miles to find some­one who could 3D-print it.

Michael John­son

Who doesn’t want a su­per­power? I started build­ing things a few years ago that fo­cus on sen­sory-based in­ven­tions: a ring de­vice that al­lows the wearer to ex­pe­ri­ence mag­netic fields as a vi­bra­tion; an ul­tra­sonic walk­ing stick for the blind with sim­i­lar hap­tic feed­back; some pre­lim­i­nary work on ul­tra­sound hear­ing for echolo­ca­tion. And I’ve been work­ing to build a bat­tery that’s eas­ily con­structed, bulky, but very durable. Bat­ter­ies are an in­tensely dif­fi­cult thing to man­u­fac­ture well—the worst bat­tery you could buy in a store is a marvel of en­gi­neer­ing.

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