Srinivas Tadigadapa had always been interested in knowing how electronics and appliances worked. He would, when he was little, casually dismantle the music system or ready-to-be-discarded iron. “We had these clay pots to keep water cool,” said Tadigadapa. “I realised that one of the openings in the pot perfectly fit one of my speakers. So, I placed my speaker in there and the amount of bass you could get out of this structure was amazing.”
Tadigadapa, ‘the tinkerer’, is now a Northeastern University Professor and works in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. With a never-ending curiosity at his disposition, he is now seen researching in the interdisciplinary field of microelectromechanical systems. “I’ve worked in many areas of sensors over the past 20 years,” he said. “Now the advent of the internet of things has made this work even more relevant because sensors are the baseline acquiring data for everything.”
His University research consists of the creation of smart sensors, which will then be used to assist doctors in assessing the brain’s electrical activity in patients, hence identifying any neurological disorders. This will not be done by electroencephalography machine, but through magnetoencephalography, which is very accurate and not at all time-consuming.
This tinkerer wants to create pretty little sensors that will be fixed on a cap – flexible and lightweight – which the patients will be told to wear. These sensors will then carefully monitor the magnetic fields created by the nervous system of the body. It will, he says, become a much better way of recognising the signs of epilepsy. Not only this, but he is also working on technology that will help to record breath, saliva as well as urine. How will that happen? Tadigadapa is sure machines and technology will come to his rescue.
“We’re living in a world where machines and automation have become an integral part of life,” he says.