Low power and energy efficient technologies are disrupting several fields through cost-effective, autonomous monitoring and control scenarios.

Pritam Bose, our next pathbreaker, Senior R&D engineer at Kongsberg Maritime (Norway), develops novel communication frameworks for autonomous ships for maritime technology.

Pritam talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about applying his background in telecommunication engineering to diverse challenges in earthquake detection as well as development of leadless pacemakers that overcome the current limitations in pacemaker technology that is used for cardiac rhythm management.

For students, telecommunication technologies will play a critical role in the digitization of the manufacturing sector through IoT devices !

Pritam, Your background?

I always loved Science from my school time particularly Mathematics and Physics. I always scored well in these subjects due to my keen interest in them. After my school, I pursued BTech in Electronics and Communication Engineering as I felt this would give the best application of Physics and Mathematics in practical scenarios.

What did you do for graduation/post graduation?

I I pursued BTech in Electronics and Communication Engineering, followed by a masters in Telecommunications Engineering as I developed interest in this field during my Bachelor studies. After that I did my PhD in Medicine. My PhD work was to develop a communication framework for multi-node leadless capsule pacemaker technology for cardiac rhythm management.

What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and unique career?

During my Bachelor studies, I got the opportunity to work under Assistant Scientist Dr. Narayan Chandra Deb of the Electronics & Communication Science Unit (ECSU) of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata. I was assigned a part of a Government-sponsored project on Remote Sensing and Atmospheric Science. The final objective of the project was to design an earthquake detector that could detect earthquakes even hours before its occurrence by sensing low frequency acoustic signals that are emitted from the ground, even days before occurrence of the earthquakes. My role was to write a MATLAB program for drawing the pixel plots of the incoming back-scattered acoustic signals from the atmosphere by sensing them with powerful sensors to develop an atmospheric structure detection system. Though my work just lasted for around 8 months, it convinced me that I wanted to pursue a career in research.

How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path

I have always been eager to do substantial research, so during my application for a masters degree program, I had emphasized on choosing universities doing well in research. Though I got admission offers from a few of them, but finally, my decision to join the University of Trento in Italy was motivated by two main reasons. The primary reason was that I wished to do research under the supervision of Prof. Lorenzo Bruzzone, the head of the Remote Sensing Laboratory of the university and one of the stalwarts in the field of remote sensing. The secondary reason was that I was among few of the lucky students who had been granted full funding with tuition fees exemption, subsidized accommodation and monthly allowance for two years. 

During my master studies, I got an opportunity to conduct research for three months under the joint supervision of Prof. Nikola Kasabov, the Director of Knowledge Engineering & Discovery Research Institute (KEDRI) of Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand and Prof. Lorenzo Bruzzone for my master thesis. Moreover, my university had sponsored me for my entire visit & stay in New Zealand for these three months. The topic of my thesis was “Prediction of winter-wheat yield in Shandong province of China with MODIS-NDVI data using spatio-temporal data machines based on Neucube neuromorphic framework”.

After my master studies, I got PhD admissions in many universities both in the US and Europe. Finally, I decided to join the University of Oslo in Norway as the topic of my PhD research was quite interesting and I also received a scholarship called Marie Curie fellowship which is a very prestigious one in Europe.

During my PhD, I worked on the development of multi-node leadless pacemakers for the heart. The current pacemakers have leads or wires that go into the heart which leads to various lead-related complications. So, we worked towards designing something without the lead wires. Multi-node leadless pacemaker system overcomes the main limitations related to lead complications of the conventional cardiac pacemaker and will thus replace them in the near future. The multiple nodes of the technology require the development of low-power, low data-rate and energy-efficient communication framework for device synchronization and bi-directional communication between them. Moreover, the nodes need to communicate with the outer peripheral devices for data telemetry, control and remote monitoring. So, I developed the communication framework for such a technology during my PhD.

During my postdoc, I worked on simultaneous wireless data and energy transfer so that we can extend the lifetime of the medical implantable devices.

How did you get your first break?

My first break was due to my background in telecommunication engineering. During my PhD, I worked in the application of telecommunication engineering in the medical domain. After working in medical domain, I decided to explore some other domains. I got the opportunity to work in the maritime sector where I am currently developing the communication framework for autonomous ships.

What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?

Challenge 1: Coming from a humble background, I always had financial challenges, so I always looked for any opportunities to receive scholarships. There are plenty available, but you need to look for it.

Challenge 2: I always wanted to go abroad to study, but couldn’t find people who could give me proper guidance. So, I started contacting guys who have gone abroad through Facebook and email and sought guidance from them.

Where do you work now? What problems do you solve?

I am currently working as a senior R&D Engineer in Kongsberg Maritime, Norway on developing novel communication frameworks for autonomous ships for maritime technology. My main expertise is in developing communication frameworks for novel applications. I also have good expertise in AI as I have worked on it for many years. My short-term goal is to work in R&D projects in the telecommunication sector in any domain.

For the cargo ships, this will not only be of huge financial benefit but also decrease the risks of human lives as some voyages are very risky due to turbulent seas.

How does your work benefit society? 

I currently work on developing a communication framework for autonomous ships which will benefit society as it will make sea travel much safer and much cheaper.

Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!

My PhD research on the multi-node leadless cardiac pacemaker has received significant attention from the scientific community. It has been published as monthly highlights by the Engineering in Biology and Medicine (EMB) community (https://tbme.embs.org/2018/PritamBose). My supervisor was interviewed by Medtronic, the largest medical device manufacturer in the world. The research and the interview has been featured as an innovation article on their webpage (https://europe.medtronic.com/xd-en/transforming-healthcare/EUreka/innovation-articles/rf-for-multicapsule-pacemaker.html).

Your advice to students based on your experience?

Dream big and work hard for your dreams.

Future Plans?

Continue research in different domains.