Who am I? Dr Andrew Lin
Where am I? Melbourne, Victoria
What’s my thing? Improving child health outcomes in the developing world by creating new technology
When Dr Andrew Lin represented Australia in the International Chemistry Olympiad in 2005 he met a 14-year-old Swiss student who had been caught making 10 kilograms of TNT. “For him it was either go to jail or go to the olympiad,” Andrew recalls. Today, that student is working on quantum lasers and the pair are still friends.
Andrew, 25, remembers the event, held that year in Taipei, Taiwan, as two of the best weeks of his life. It meant a break from Year 12 and the chance to meet brilliant people overseas.
But another connection made through the program would have deeper implications. Back in Australia, at the national awards ceremony, he met maths olympian Kim Ramchen, who would become a co-founder of StethoCloud with Andrew.
Today StethoCloud is on the brink of developing a digital stethoscope and smartphone app which could transform the way pneumonia is diagnosed in the developing world, potentially saving thousands of lives.
More than 1.5 million children aged under five die each year of pneumonia, not because it is hard to treat but because of a lack of diagnostic tools.
StethoCloud’s digital stethoscope connects to a smartphone which uploads the breath recordings to a cloud service for analysis.
“This is a way to automatically diagnose pneumonia using a cheap phone and a digital, low-cost stethoscope,” Andrew says. “We have now expanded to look at more disease from asthma to neonatal resuscitation and it’s quite exciting.”
The pneumonia technology is being tested at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. A version of the technology that monitors newborn heart rates to help determine whether resuscitation is required is also in medical trials. Meanwhile the digital stethoscope itself – StethoMic – has potential for use in asthma cases, providing parents with more confidence to treat asthma at home and avoid unnecessary trips to hospital.
The venture is a return to the medical arena for Andrew who, after completing a medicine and surgery degree at the University of Melbourne and interning at the World Health Organization, now works at a global management consultancy.
Science, he says, provides a great grounding for business. It cements clear thinking and problem-solving skills, and was crucial to conceptualising, then creating, StethoCloud.
Learn more at www.stethocloud.com
Adapted from Australia’s Future – a free ebook profiling some of the brightest stars in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics.