Materials and Devices Category

Dr. Sridhar Iyengar

Sridhar is the founder and CTO of AgaMatrix, a biosensor-based medical diagnostics company. With 12 years of research and engineering experience in DSP and mathematical modeling of chemical systems, he drives and directs AgaMatrix's technology vision. Combining his background in electrical engineering and biological sciences, Sridhar conceived of and pioneered the concept of using an advanced DSP approach to enhance biosensor performance.

Traditionally, the bulk of innovation in biosensors has been on the "bio" side, with advances being made on new chemistries, novel enzymes, and better polymers. However, advances on the "sensor" side have not been commensurate. So what did Sridhar do ? He focused on developing sensing technologies to compensate for limitations of the biological components using more intelligent mathematical analysis of the signals they generate. What this means is that new diagnostic products can be commercialized faster and manufactured with lower cost, since there is now far less burden placed on the biological components of the device.

His work in the years following his Ph.D. research is the cornerstone for AgaMatrix's intellectual property,including the patent-pending WaveSense(TM) technology base, which consists of a biosensor digital signal processing microchip and a nanoliter-scale electrochemical test strip technology for use in medical diagnostics. The system, currently targeted for application in the blood glucose monitoring market, produces highly accurate readings while using significantly less blood than any device currently on the market. In the medium-term, applications for the technology may include enabling upcoming minimally/non-invasive and implantable biosensor devices to be more accurate and commercially feasible. Beyond glucose, the technology can be used to enable highly accurate hand-held devices for other biosensor-driven areas, such as DNA sensing, cardiac marker and cancer detection, environmental monitoring, and biodefense.

Sridhar obtained his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign, and then earned his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Cambridge as a Marshall Scholar.

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Dr. Akhil Madhani

Adapting robots to a variety of environmentsfrom the operating room to theme parks to Space. Akhil Madhani has flourished on the frontier of Artificial Intelligence. Madhani was awarded the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize in 1998 for his clever developments in robotics, such as the Black Falcona tool for minimally invasive surgery.

As a result of working in the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab and observing his father, an orthopedic surgeon, perform an arthroscopy, Madhani invented the Black Falcona robot with a long cylindrical arm, a small wrist and tongs to facilitate minimally invasive surgery. Operated by a joystick, the device enables a surgeon to make a one-inch incision with its tongs to manipulate tissue, suture and tie knotscomparatively reducing the size of the cut and patient trauma. Still undergoing testing, Madhani's breakthrough is a vital evolution of surgical procedures that have had limited modifications since their development many years ago. holds nine patents in robotic surgical devices.

Growing up in Seattle, WA, Madhani was a child who enjoyed building and designing toy cars, boats, planes and rockets. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, followed by a M.S. and Ph.D. (1997) in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. Sharing his passion for robotics with younger kids, Madhani has served as a design instructor with the MIT MITES (Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science) summer program, which challenges high school teams to build a device to complete a goal-oriented task.

He presently works at Walt Disney's Imagineering Research and Development Laboratories in Glendale, CA, where his first project was to develop an experimental 11,000 pound walking machine with a team of engineers. He has recently co-patented a removable infinite roll master grip handle and touch sensor for robotic surgery in July 2003. He also led a team of engineers, designers and artists who created an Interactive Walking DinosaurThe Walt Disney Company's first mobile, untethered, teleoperated, walking Animatronic figure unveiled in August 2003. The dinosaur, named Lucky, the Roving Robo-raptor was named one of Time Magazine's "Best Inventions of 2003."

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Dr. Kailas Narendran

People with spinal cord injuries can look forward to a fresh beginning, thanks to Kailas Narendran, a Research Specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kailas and John McBean came up with the idea of The Active Joint Brace during a final paper for a robotics class they took at the MIT.

The Active Joint Brace is an electromechanical device, a patent pending technology, that increases a person's functional independence by working in tandem with existing muscles. Portable, low-cost and non-invasive, it would help the 10 million disabled Americans who have difficulty lifting light objects and need help with daily activities. He presented this idea in the annual MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition - 2003, for a company that aims to put robotic exoskeletons on patients with spinal cord injuries and won first place in the competition. A national clinical trial for the exoskeleton with a few dozen patients is imminent, and future products will target the rest of the body, for a potential $2 billion revenue stream.

His research focuses specifically on developing this technology and its usefulness and human interface and design issues resulting from clinical interactions. In addition, he would also deal with many different embodiments of this fundamental technology for various body parts and different diseases.Kailas is also the co-founder of myomo (formerly known as Active Joint Brace), the winner of the 2003 MIT $50k Entrepreneurship competition. His company also offers consultancy in general engineering besides product development.

Kailas also does independent engineering consulting and development. His extracurricular interests include hiking, mountain biking, weight lifting and building and tinkering.

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Dr. Sanjay Sarma

Sanjay is credited with defining and developing many of the standards and technologies that form the foundation of the commercial RFID industry. Sanjay is a frequent industry speaker and serves on the Board of Governors of EPCGlobal. Prior to joining OAT, Sanjay was an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. In 1999, Sanjay co-founded MIT's Auto-ID Center and has served as its Chairman of Research. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Chair at MIT, the Ferry Award, the Den Hartog Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Keenan Award for innovations in undergraduate education, the New England Business and Technology Award, and was selected to Business Week's 'e.biz 25 Innovators' list. He has over 50 publications in computational geometry, virtual reality, manufacturing, CAD, RFID, security and embedded computing.

Dr. Sarma received a Bachelors degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, a Masters degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. In between degrees, he worked at Schlumberger Oilfield Services in Aberdeen, UK, and at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in Berkeley, California. His current research projects are in the areas of radio frequency identification, IC packaging, manufacturing, CAD/CAM, machine design, RFID applications, device networking and smart devices.

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