Smoking Cessation Wearable Puts Chennai Girl in Forbes' List of '30 Under 30'

by Julia Samuel on Nov 17 2017 8:19 PM

Smoking Cessation Wearable Puts Chennai Girl in Forbes
Akshaya Shanmugam, 29, the CEO of Lumme Inc., has cracked the code to beat addictive behavior by combining wearable technology, machine learning, and behavioral psychology.
This has taken her to the Forbes' '30 under 30' list in the area of health care. Every year Forbes releases a list of the top people with regard to various specialties.

 Lumme focuses on solving the global addiction problem. It might be smoking, drugs, alcohol.

"Our platform automatically detects addictive behavior, predicts indulgence in addictive behavior, and prevents it by delivering clinically validated interventions. It also helps individuals gain better insights into their daily life and helps them understand the why, how, and what surrounding their lifestyle choices," said Shanmugam.

How Does Lumme Help Smokers?

Explaining how the platform would work for a person who smokes, Shanmugam says for the first two weeks, users wear the smartwatches and go about their routine. The platform passively monitors smoking behavior and looks at other factors like the time of the day, their movements and social interactions. It then makes an assessment of the smoking patterns of the users and predicts when they are likely to smoke next.

"The first phase of our launch is the smoking cessation platform. We will tie up with corporates so they can include this as part of their employee wellness programmes," she said. 'Predictions made with 95% accuracy in 2 trials'.

This work is the outcome of research conducted at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Yale School of Medicine. Lumme is funded by the National Institutes of Health and has raised $1.7 million in funding.

The technology is in the process of being clinically validated and Shanmugam hopes to launch the product in the market by the summer of 2018.

"It is quite an honor to be part of this list. It is a validation that there is potential in the technology that we have developed. This only drives us further to make meaningful contributions to the field of healthcare," said Shanmugam.

About Akshaya Shanmugam

Shanmugam completed her schooling at Chettinad Vidyashram, and went on to pursue engineering at Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College. In 2009, she moved to the US for higher studies.

While pursuing her PhD in an area that involves developing health monitoring systems outside hospitals, she met Abhinav Parate who was working on a thesis with wearables. With Parate and a few professors, Shanmugam set up Lumme to solve the global addiction problem.