Do you know that a 'smart glove' can predict epileptic seizures in your child? Meet Rajlakshmi Borthakur, who invented this device to help her son.
By Monali Bordoloi
They say a mother’s love for her child is limitless and can inspire her to do wonders! Rajlakshmi Borthakur is one such mother. Seeing her son's struggles with epilepsy, she went ahead and created a detection device, T-Jay. ParentCircle presents the inspiring story of this courageous mompreneur who dared to think out-of-the-box and made a unique smart glove which can predict epileptic seizures.
Originally from Guwahati, Assam, Rajlakshmi was working in Bangalore when she gave birth to a son. Her son, Tejas got all his developmental milestones a little late compared to other children. He started rolling only after nine months, as against the normal one or two months for most babies. He took his first steps at the age of two. Rajlakshmi was going about her activities just like any other mom until one day her seemingly normal world turned upside down. Two-year-old Tejas was diagnosed with epilepsy. In fact, Tejas started having seizures just two days after birth due to an injury during his birth. But he was diagnosed as epileptic only at the age of two years. By the time Tejas was diagnosed, the seizures already impeded his growth considerably.
At first, Rajlakshmi was devastated and enraged as there was no way available to them that they could know about the timing of a seizure. She wanted to help her son lead a normal life but didn’t know what to do. Then she started reading extensively about the disease and different modes of treatment available.
Preventing seizures is the key to managing epilepsy. Rajlakshmi was looking for a device which could give notice of an impending seizure, but there was none in India. The detection devices available in the United States and Europe are not suitable for the Indian market. Other tests to detect the condition is useful only when the person is having seizures. But by the time the patient reaches the hospital, he may not have seizures. With all these in mind, Rajlakshmi was determined to find an answer to her son’s struggles.
After three years of research and trials, Rajlakshmi developed a wearable smart glove with the help of artificial intelligence to predict epilepsy attacks. It also allows her to monitor her son’s condition remotely. She named the smart glove as T-Jay after her son's pet name.
Now, Rajlakshmi is the founder and CEO of a medi-tech company named TerraBlue XT which is in the process of making the smart glove commercially.
The wearable glove can transmit signals from the body with and without internet connectivity. When a patient wears the T-Jay smart glove, it tracks the unique physiological pattern of each patient in real time. It starts plotting a comprehensive collection of data that can indicate the occurrence of next attack. The T-Jay glove senses 11 types of signals from the body, such as temperature, respiration, and blood pressure and then compares them against preset threshold values. If the values do not match, it sends messages to guardians and doctors about the occurrence of next attack.
Apart from reading signals from the brain, the T-Jay glove can measure and consolidates a range of data which includes the temperature of the body, blood pressure level and heart rate. Early prediction of seizures can save the lives of patients as they can receive treatment on time. Detecting the seizures early can also prevent permanent brain damage. With these data, doctors can also plan better treatment plans for the epileptic patients.
Rajlakshmi says, “More than 55 million people in the world are suffering from chronic neurological problems. As I worked on the project to help my son, I also learned that I could also make a difference in the lives of millions around the world.”
Rajlakshmi shared her entrepreneurial journey in this video in IIM, Bangalore.
Without any formal background in technology, Rajlakshmi has come a long way in her entrepreneurial journey. She was recognised as one of the 12 ‘women transforming India’ by Niti Aayog and the United Nations.
Another high point came when she was invited to the 8th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad in November 2017. Ivanka Trump, who spoke on the occasion, highlighted Rajalakshmi's work and later tweeted about her. In the same platform, international leaders applauded her courage and determination in the face of personal adversity.
Rajlakshmi strongly believes that women should not shy away from entrepreneurial ventures. She says, “Take the plunge if you strongly believe in the concept and start your entrepreneurial journey with confidence. There is no barrier that can stop you, go for it with an open mind. If you believe you can, you will thrive.”
Rajlakshmi, a former UX (User Experience) professional and IoT (Internet of Things) enthusiast, wants to be a social entrepreneur with a difference. Making lives better with the help of technology is a mission for Rajlakshmi and her team in TerraBlue. Now, they are creating IoT powered wearables for the chronic and lifestyle diseases. These medical grade sensor-based wearables will be able to predict, detect, and manage different types of diseases. These devices can track brain activities, stress levels, vital signs, physical activities and sleep patterns to predict future health risks. These are helpful for early intervention and better management of undetected ailments. The apps associated with these devices can act as a life coach to the users. It monitors their health and detects abnormalities and can alert the user to seek medical help.
Operating out of Bangalore Bio Innovation Center, a government-supported biotech incubator, Rajlakshmi plans to take her device outside India. Next, on her agenda, she says, “I want to learn how to build an executive presence and become a global tech leader. I also want to learn how to negotiate at an international level and how to build a sustainable and socially-relevant organisation so that I can take these products to the right people."
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