August 30, 2016
Cypress Woods High School senior Abhinav Ashar, one of 70 students to attend the competitive summer program MIT Launch, joined a team in developing a product that could reduce the infant mortality rate.
Aug. 30, 2016—Cypress Woods High School senior Abhinav Ashar was one of 70 students selected to attend a highly selective summer entrepreneurship program, MIT Launch, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
MIT Launch brings together high school students from all over the nation and world each summer to MIT campus to become teenage entrepreneurs. This experience connects students to many successful entrepreneurial networks and leaders across the MIT campus for instruction and best practices, engraining in them the MIT culture of Mens et Manus - mind and hand. The program features competitive selection criteria, with an admission rate of less than 12 percent.
Through this program, Ashar and his team—consisting of three other students from Brazil, Singapore and Maryland—have developed a product that reduces the number of infant mortality cases linked to a lack of oxygen. The team has launched a company called LyfeBand (lyfeband.io), which is in process of developing an infant wearable that alerts caretakers when a child experiences low blood-oxygen levels from suffocation or some pre-existing illness. In addition to starting a company, Ashar and his team have also filed for a provisional patent on their innovative technology.
Cypress Woods senior Abhinav Ashar, left, joined fellow MIT Launch participants (L-R) Fiona Whitefield, Alisson Amaral, Mantej Singh to create the product LyfeBand. The infant wearable would alert caretakers when a child experiences low blood-oxygen levels from suffocation or some pre-existing illness.
LyfeBand is dedicated to address a worldwide problem of “infant asphyxiation” at a low cost. Every year, 3 million infants die due to preventable causes and the window of opportunity to save an infant is often only 4 minutes.
“Our low-cost device alerts parents so that they can rapidly respond if their child’s vital signs drop below the normal range,” Ashar said. “LyfeBand isn't just an infant wearable, it's peace of mind.”
The team was put together based on entrepreneurial preferences, so they only met each other after arriving at the program. They went through a series of brain-storming sessions to come up with their idea.
According to Ashar, the best part of MIT Launch was having the flexibility to use the MIT resources, labs and network to find a solution. Their team received guidance from MIT and Harvard Engineering professors along with MIT students. During the development of their prototype, they conducted market research from pediatric specialists and lung specialists in India.
“We believe every life saved is another story told, and our goal is to write many stories and be a part of a bigger one ourselves,” Ashar said.