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Wash. teen invents, sells medical devices
SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) -- He isn't old enough to drive, but a Snohomish entrepreneur already is gaining national attention for his inventions.
Suman Mulumudi, 15, showed off the digital stethoscope he invented on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" last Thursday.
Mulumudi, a freshman at Lakeside School in Seattle, is developing that device and another medical tool he invented last summer. The teen is the CEO of his own company, StratoScientific Inc.
Suman traveled to New York to tape the show's regular segment called "Fallonventions," which showcases the achievements of young inventors. He used his Steth IO, which turns a smartphone into a stethoscope, to listen to Fallon's heart.
"He's a nice guy," Suman said. "He's very much a person. That's something we often overlook when we look at public figures." Suman received $5,000 for his appearance.
The Steth IO is designed to provide audio and visual data that can help doctors hear faint heart murmurs. It builds on capabilities already available in smartphones, employing a simple plastic attachment that feeds into a smartphone's own microphone.
He also invented the LesionSizer. The device is intended to help doctors clear blocked or narrowed arteries with stents by providing accurate measurements of the damaged tissue, or lesions.
"Right now, it is being done by estimating," Suman said. "That can be a huge issue."
The tool is expected to provide more accurate information to help surgeons to do a better job treating blockages with angioplasty. Mulumudi hopes to reduce medical costs with both of his cardiology devices.
"Most of these ideas came as a product of discussions of problems I face at work," said his father, Dr. Mahesh Mulumudi. "He came up with the solution."
Mahesh Mulumudi works as a cardiologist with The Everett Clinic. And Suman's mother, Dr. Srilatha Shoroff, practices internal medicine there.
"In the environment I'm growing up in, I hear a lot about their work," Suman said.
He started asking his parents questions about their methods. During his summer vacation last year, he started thinking about the stethoscope.
"It's a very analog device," Suman said of present technology. "It seemed like a big gap in medicine."
Suman went to work designing a digital version. He built it from off-the-shelf parts, using a 3D printer. Once he had his first prototype completed, he started developing the LesionSizer. By last November, he was creating his own startup company.
Now he's looking for investors, working on patenting the devices and seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He's also studying the potential commercial market for the devices.
Suman estimates the Steth IO is about a year from being manufactured. He doesn't expect to bring the LesionSizer to market for a few years.
He focuses on developing his products in the evening after he finishes school and homework.
"I think hard work pays off," Suman said.
He is growing his company, which involves his father, as president, and an engineer with a background in various technology industries.
In his spare time, Suman enjoys playing the bassoon. He's not sure where he wants to go to college, but he does plan to follow his entrepreneurial interests.
Once he launches his medical devices in the U.S., Suman hopes to bring them to Europe and the developing world.
"They're both showing extreme promise for being able to solve problems," he said. "We hope to better patient outcomes."