Bengaluru, April 14 (IANS) With coronavirus disrupting humanity as no other disease before, innovations in telecom would help nations jointly fight it, Indian-born Stanford University emeritus professor Arogyaswami Paulraj has said.
“The world needs more innovations in telecom to build the medical infrastructure for dealing with a pandemic like Covid-19 by all the nations,” said 75-year-old Paulraj in an e-mail to IANS through the US-based Marcon Society.
Paulraj, who invented the technology that powers mobile and WiFi (wireless fidelity) networks, said the virus impact would abate in the next 2-3 years, leaving a trail of social and economic disruption.
“We should use this health crisis to better prepare for the future. The global response to the virus would not have been possible without telecommunications,” asserted Paulraj on the post-pandemic world.
Noting that zoonotic infections, which are transmitted from animals to men have been present since millennia, the electrical engineering professor said high-density living and mass transport services make them more pandemic capable.
“We need smart tools to prepare for future pandemics that may be more deadly than Covid-19 that claimed over 100,000 lives and infected over 18 lakh people worldwide since January,” reiterated the inventor of MIMO, which underpins all broadband services, including 3G and 4G.
MIMO -multiple in, multiple out – wireless technology uses multiple antennas as a transmitter and receiver in a wireless link to boost wireless data rates.
Just as internet has become the economic, educational and social window to the world, Paulraj said the global healthcare sector would need scale population data to help detect and measure pandemic incidence under the internet of health things.
“For instance, we need Kinsa, a smart thermometer that uploads patient temperature to a cloud database, as is being used at a Florida hospital to detect the Covid-19 hotspots,” Paulraj noted.
By using disruptive technologies, many such tools like anti-body testing or nucleic acid testing can be developed to combat the deadly virus.
“Individual infection potential tracing from contact with an infected person or surface can be done using better tools, with specificity, geographical and temporal sensitivity,” affirmed Pauraj.
As resources get stretched, surge management will be a challenge for hospitals in pandemic cases.
“Online data-driven management systems for matching patients, supplies or medical care workers to hospitals equipped to handle surges will be vital in the near future,” Paulraj pointed out.
Similarly, tele-screening will be more economical with zero risk than investing on personal protective equipment (PPEs) healthcare warriors use for testing and screening to identify patients needing hospital care versus those who can recover at home.
“Good telemedicine-based screening tools will reduce the burden of investing in offline diagnosis and save time in the age of pandemics,” added Paulraj.
Born at Pollachi in Tamil Nadu, Paulraj joined the Indian Navy when he was just 15 years. Impressed with his academic record, the Navy sent him to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, where he earned a doctorate (PhD) for advances to signal filtering theory.
After a 25-year service in the Navy, Paulraj went to the US in 1992 to work at Stanford and built a MIMO-based cellular wireless technology that became the basis for WiMax and LTE (Long-Term Evolution) mobile networks.
Paulraj holds 79 patents and won many distinctions, including the 2011 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal and 2014 Marconi Prize and Fellowship.
The Indian government also honoured Paulraj with Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in 2010.
The NDA-1 government appointed the septuagenarian in December 2017 as Chairman of the Telecommunication Department’s Steering Committee to prepare a vision, mission, goal and roadmap for 5G India 2020.