Impactful products that Indian IoT startups are building as part of the 3rd edition of the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge


For the last three consecutive years, Qualcomm has successfully hosted the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge, a platform that helps product startups working on useful and innovative hardware products, in turn supporting India’s technology ecosystem and the dream of a digital India.

Qualcomm helps startups speed up their design cycles as well as time to market by providing relevant Qualcomm technologies and product development support at the Qualcomm Innovation Lab in Bengaluru. This includes design, development and software support from a dedicated Qualcomm engineering team, access to a dedicated lab with high-end equipment for camera and audio tuning, RF calibration for WiFi, Cellular, BT and GPS, thermal testing, and access to free samples of QC SoCs and development kits and SW platforms

The 2018 program has evolved from 2016 and 2017. While the overall format has largely been maintained, the key change is the rollback to a single cohort, like in 2016, rather than two cohorts in 2017. The third edition also has additional incentives for the 15 shortlisted startups, such as $5,000 for filing patents during the incubation phase and accelerator programme services from Anthill Ventures. The shortlisted startups also get an initial cash award of $10,000 each.

The 15 chosen startups working in the areas of medtech, smartinfra and wearables are undergoing hardware incubation at the Qualcomm Innovation Lab until February 2019. At the end of the incubation period, the startups will participate in the finale and three winning startups will be awarded $100,000, $75,000 and $50,000 respectively.

Here’s a quick look at five medtech startups and how they are working on making an impact in the healthcare sector, and leveraging Qualcomm Technology:

Artelus India

Bengaluru-based Artelus leverages Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence to develop AI-powered primary screening devices that can detect TB, breast cancer, lung cancer and diabetic retinopathy, enabling clinicians to make a faster and more accurate diagnosis and provide preventive care. It was founded in October 2015 by Pradeep Walia, a serial entrepreneur whose startup had over 24 patents in AI technology, Rajarajeshwari K and Lalit Pant. Artelus has a vision to reach out to the ‘forgotten billion’ (primarily people in rural areas and those who cannot afford healthcare) by making it possible to deliver a quality healthcare experience beyond the boundaries of hospitals and specialised clinics, while reducing the burden of the already overworked healthcare practitioners in India.

The startup’s flagship product, Diabetic Retinopathy Intelligent Screening System Integrated (DRISTi), is a deep learning-based AI algorithm that reads digital images to detect and identify early signs of diabetic retinopathy that could lead to permanent blindness. DRISTi is a platform that is designed to connect patients to endocrinologists and general physicians during mass screening. As part of QDIC, the Artelus team is working on plugging its proprietary ML algorithms on Snapdragon 845. According to the founders, these AI-enabled chips have the potential to be used in handheld devices or smart devices, making it possible for millions of Indians to have better access to disease screening and bridging inequities in healthcare in the future.

Bioscan Research

Traumatic Brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of disability around the world. It is estimated that around 10 million people are affected annually because the injury is detected at a very late stage when the brain has already suffered irreparable damage.

To address this challenge, Ahmedabad based startup Bioscan Research team is using patented technology to develop the world's fastest brain haemorrhage detector that can detect the injury at an early stage within two minutes. The non-invasive, portable device is being developed to enable even non-medical practitioners to screen patients.

Founded by Shilpa Malik and Anupam Lavania in September 2017, the startup’s device has already been clinically tested with 27 patients and was able to detect haemorrhages with a 100 percent success rate. They are now in the process of conducting trials on a larger set of patients.

As part of QDIC, the team is working with the Design Engineering team at Qualcomm to deploy Snapdragon 200 chipset to enhance the capability of the device from detection to diagnosis. With this enhanced capability, the device will not only detect the presence of intracranial bleed, but also gauge the depth and the severity of the bleed. Also, this new capability has the potential to diagnose not just intracranial bleed, but other brain diseases including tumours and infections.

The team is also working towards making it possible to equip trauma centres, hospital emergency departments, ambulances, evacuation helicopters and primary health care centres in rural India with the detector to triage the patients within the golden hour.

The detector’s potential to create an impact can be determined from the awards and recognition it has won within a year of its launch. The laurels include winning the India Israel Innovation Challenge in healthcare, winning the BIRAC TiE Biotech Women Entrepreneur’s Award, the StartHealth challenge, the AICTE Canada India Accelerator Program, being adjudged as one of the Top 4 startups in India by Lufthansa Runway to Success, being included among the Top 47 product innovations by Tata Trust and winning the CIIE Innocity pitch.

Cradlewise (Chigroo Labs)

Founded by Bharath Patil and Radhika Patil in November 2017, Chigroo Labs is building a small cradle for babies with auto-swinging and integrated contactless baby monitoring capabilities, called Cradlewise.

A key feature of Cradlewise is responsive rocking. The cradle’s sensors look for early wake-up signals or movements that indicate discomfort in the baby and pre-emptively rock the baby back to sleep. The product is also designed to learn the sleep patterns and preferences of the baby and customise rocking style and music accordingly. The smart cradle has a patented resonant rocking mechanism that makes the swinging very noiseless and smooth. The cradle has a patented contactless 3D sensing solution that monitors any unsafe sleep position. For example, if the baby rolls over or a blanket covers the nose or if the child tries to sit up in the cradle, parents will be alerted. The smart cradle also has an integrated contactless breath rate monitor that flags any irregularities.

The cradle can be used for an entire day after being charged for just two hours and consumes less power. The related mobile app can be used for video and audio monitoring and the sleep reports generated can help parents understand how well the baby is sleeping.

Cradlewise is using the IoT offerings from Qualcomm. “A Snapdragon chipset is the core of the smart cradle. We are using the APQ8016 from Snapdragon 400 series. The powerful processor helps us detect and act on events in real time. It also helps us in doing edge computing. The bundled software which is open sourced for the Snapdragon platform helps us in accelerating development,” says Radhika.


Janitri Innovations

Founded by Arun Agarwal, an engineer with a passion for social innovation, Janitri Innovations is working on developing sustainable technology to improve maternal and child healthcare. The Bangalore-based startup has two flagship products – Daksh, an intelligent labour monitoring tool and Keyar – a fetal heart rate and uterine contraction monitoring device.

Continuous monitoring of the fetal heart rate and uterine contractions helps an obstetrician analyse and diagnose the well-being of the mother and fetus, and take the right decision to prevent any mortality or morbidity. But the existing cardiotocography (CTG) devices are cost-intensive, non-portable, and require a skilled health worker to operate them and to interpret the result from graphs. This is where Keyar stands apart. It is both easy to use and portable, and fits the requirement for low resources healthcare settings. The device displays the fetal heart rate and uterine contractions in an easy format and is easily interpretable by a low skilled health worker. Keyar wirelessly transmits the fetal heart rate and contraction data to the Daksh mobile application for central and remote monitoring.

The team is working on integrating the Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 MSM8909, an entry level SoC, for Android based tablets and smartphones, into its product.

mBreath Technologies

A smart home healthcare company based in Kharagpur, mBreath Technologies is working on developing Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based wireless home health monitoring devices for diagnosing and monitoring health status. One of its key product is SleepDoc+, a wireless multi-person sleep assistant that uses ultra-low power FMCW (frequency-modulated continuous-wave) radar to detect vital physiological parameters like the respiration rate and heart rate of multiple people simultaneously from a distance of 3-5 meters. The IoT-based solution determines the sleep quality of the user and helps to diagnose sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea, snoring, insomnia, etc.

The AI algorithms process the whole set of data collected over a period of time to provide a personalised sleep profile – both regarding the quality and quantity of sleep. SleepDoc+ also provides sleep therapy by integrating ambient light and soothing music which can be customised according to the user's preference to create a conducive environment for inducing good sleep. In addition, based on the sleep score, the device suggests lifestyle changes by which users can improve their overall quality of health.

According to founders Laxmi Kant Tiwari, Aurobinda Routray and Ritwik Dash, what makes SleepDoc+ unique is the fact that currently there is no device in the market which has a multi-person wireless sleep monitoring capability. Moreover, apart from remote sleep monitoring, SleepDoc+ also leverages its advanced AI algorithms to provide extended health analytics and automatically connects the user to nearby doctors in case of an emergency.

At the moment, the team is testing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 MSM8909 (ARM Cortex-A7) module to bring in better integration of the SleepDoc device with its mobile application. The team is also looking at integrating Dragonboard 410c.

Turtle Shell Technologies

Turtle Shell Technologies’ non-contact, non-wearable health monitor Dozee can be placed under the mattress to track and develop the health baselines of a user, making monitoring health super easy.

Dozee keeps track of a user’s vitals, heart rate, respiration, sleep patterns, restlessness, stress levels and other parameters on a regular basis and does a trend-based analysis to detect any early signs of health deterioration which might need attention. The Advanced Health Intelligence platform has already proved to be a life-saver for many of its customers, by alerting users about early symptoms of tuberculosis, sleep apnea and threatening infections. Dozee has been clinically tested and proven to have an accuracy rate of 98.4 percent, which is akin to medical grade sensors. The independent studies have been conducted at HCG Oncology and NIMHANS, Bangalore.

The team plans to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 212 chipset. This will help them in running all their algorithms in real-time on the device, which currently run on remote servers hosted on their cloud platform.

The startup has been founded by Mudit Dandwate, former Chief Scientist at Falcon Cricket Blade and an IIT Bombay alumnus and Gaurav Parchani, a former software engineer from Altair Engineering and an IIT Indore alumnus.


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