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Humanitarians

35 Innovators Under 35

Humanitarians

They are taking unconventional routes to bring about a healthier, cleaner, and more adaptable world.

Jagdish Chaturvedi, 32

InnAccel

This doctor can laugh about the complex path he took to becoming an innovator.

“I invented a low-cost ear, nose, and throatENTimaging device. So I call myself the first ENTrepreneur! Sorrycheesy joke; I’m also an amateur standup comedian. I love performing. It’s how I de-stress. But I also find comedy helps sharpen my observational skills.

“Those skills helped me invent Entraview, which has helped 200,000 patients. As a trainee doctor I saw many farmers with advanced throat cancer. I discovered that expensive imaging systems were only available in major cities, so rural doctors relied on outdated mirrors and headlamps. I asked my boss why no one had tried attaching endoscopes to small off-the-shelf cameras. He said, ‘Why don’t you?’

“Entraview was a big learning curve for me. I worked with a design firm but got too involved trying to create a one-size-fits-all device. I’d nearly exhausted my funds when my boss said, ‘Go learn the right way to do this.’

Chaturvedi advises a patient’s relatives and uses an early version of the Entraview to examine a man’s ear in Bangalore.
The prototype attached to an off-the-shelf camera.

“The Stanford-India Biodesign program teaches Indian doctors and engineers how to invent. Their process showed me where I’d gone wrong and gave me the connections to arrange a pitch with Medtronic. We simplified and focused on ears. Not the original goal, but the path of least resistance to market, and now the platform can evolve.

“I’ve since contributed to 18 medical-device inventions, and I’m now clinical lead at a med-tech incubator, InnAccel, where I help multiple startups while still practicing medicine, to keep me grounded with clinical needs.

“India imports 75 percent of its medical tech. We have great inventors, but most make the same mistakes because they don’t get the innovation process. The first step is finding the right team.”

as told to Edd Gent