Raskar asked Das if he would be interested in applying his expertise to the field of healthcare. “I didn’t think twice!” says Das of his decision to pursue healthcare innovation. “Somehow, I felt that the greatest utilization of my research and problem solving skills was in healthcare.”
Das signed on with the Tata Center of Technology and Design at MIT, which works on solving problems in resource constrained communities, particularly India. “I felt this was my opportunity to do something that is relevant to my home country,” says Das. “And there is no better place than MIT to work on the technology.”
As part of his work, Das was given the task of advising graduate students working on healthcare projects. One of the ways in which he does this is by co-teaching a class, Engineering Health, which does the important work of fostering community between clinicians and engineers who wish to develop novel medical devices.
Das has also been encouraged to pursue a variety projects of his own. Some of these projects include a low-cost ELISA plate reader that can be carried in a backpack for point-of care diagnostic applications, portable sensors for detecting food contamination, a device to improve the field-of-view of rigid surgical endoscopes, and a simple, low-cost, clip on device that can be integrated with smartphones to image skin.
Additionally, Das is working on improving the diagnostic accuracy of ear-infections using computational imaging and data analytics. “We are developing an otoscope that can carry out 3D imaging of the tympanic membrane,” explains Das of this new project. Das anticipates that that a better diagnostic device will minimize unnecessary clinical visits.
Abigail Ballou, Alexandra David, Shreya Iyer and Casey Nugent contributed to this story.
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