Moved by her uncle’s struggles with the disease, Pune based Jui Keskar develops a device that can greatly benefit a patient with Parkinson’s disease by monitoring their tremors.
“When you find a problem around you, try to solve it.” this very simple yet striking statement comes from Jui Keskar, a ninth-grade student from Pune. The 14-year-old recently garnered massive recognition for her innovation, JTremor-3D. It is a device that is meant to monitor the tremors of people battling Parkinson’s disease. The medical condition impacts the central nervous system of a patient, manifesting as severe tremors in the limbs. Since the medication is heavily dependent on the frequency of the said tremors, the device is an amazing way to increase the efficiency of the treatment.
Drawing inspiration from empathy
Jui’s uncle was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 42. She saw him frequently visit hospitals in Mumbai for the next eight years. The doctors could only diagnose based on the frequency of the tremors, but there were no ways to accurately measure them. Jui wanted to make the condition more manageable for her uncle. She set out to measure these tremors to control them. She got the opportunity to explore the same during the nationwide lockdown in early 2020. Her research began with a primary visit to a doctor. She also went ahead to read various research papers and journals to get to know more about the condition. She found a few existing devices to measure these tremors. However, these lacked portability and wearability. Making her next mission obvious. Making this innovation compact.
The first attempt
When Jui first began working on her initiative, she was very clear about what she wanted. Something portable, wearable with an added ease of access for the recorded data. She got the answers for the first two online. She ordered some pre-assembled hardware from Amazon and was good to go. The real obstacle struck her when tried to connect the controller to a cloud database. The task needed a good command of programming. She then pursued online courses in Python. She received constant guidance from her father who is an engineer in Germany.
After a few months of rigorous trials, she successfully developed a box-like device. It was fitted with sensors sensitive enough to be able to closely track the tremors every 1/10th of a second. The results were great and the measurements were accurate. “The box-like device was great at performance, but to be able to efficiently track movements, the device had to be really close to the body,” says Jui as she mentions how the final idea came to her mind. “For that, it was best to go with something easier to wear in routine. What’s better than a glove?” she adds.
To travel the distance from a box to a glove, Jui had to look for smaller hardware variants. She found whatever she needed online, and was quick to put things together. The end product gave a new hope in life to her Uncle. The innovation was highly appreciated by various support groups aimed at helping patients with Parkinson’s disease. Her innovation created a buzz and recognitions started pouring in.
Awards and recognition
The series of awards began with the very reputed ‘Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam National Award for Innovation and Creativity.’ In January 2021 she was awarded the IRIS Grand Award, recognised by ‘Broadcom Department of Science and Technology.’ Furthermore, she is all set to represent India at the ‘Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to be held in Pittsburgh, USA. The event is the world’s largest pre-college event aimed at promoting scientific initiatives among teens.
The path ahead
All the recognition and opportunities have definitely inspired Jui to keep moving forward and achieve much greater feats in life. According to her, garnering so much recognition at such a crucial stage of her academic career will definitely prove to be pivotal to her progress.
For now, she plans to turn a larger amount of her focus to her studies while still progressing with her innovation. She is currently working to improve JTremor-3D, making it aptly functional for the necessary safety certifications. She has two patents on the device and is planning to commercialise it soon. Jui has also co-authored a paper on ‘The Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on the mental well-being of professionals’. The paper got published in the peer-reviewed journal- ‘International Journal of Advanced Research, Ideas and Innovations in Technology.