In the Spotlight – Shival Indermun – Best Student Paper Award in the Biodevices field

Shival Indermun had presented a paper at the BIOSTEC conference recently and was awarded the Best Student Paper Award in the Biodevices field.

“I had the privilege of presenting my paper titled “Prototyping a Low-Cost Flexible Sensor Glove for Diagnostics and Rehabilitation” at the prestigious 17th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies (BIOSTEC) in Rome, Italy, in February 2024. This presentation was particularly special as it closely aligned with the research conducted for my MSc thesis, which was successfully completed in 2020” says Shival.

About the conference he says: “BIOSTEC serves as a convergence point for researchers and practitioners, uniting professionals from diverse backgrounds such as engineers, biologists, health professionals, and informatics/computer scientists. The conference focuses on both theoretical advances and practical applications of information systems, artificial intelligence, signal processing, electronics, and other engineering tools in domains related to biology and medicine. Comprising several co-located conferences, each specializing in a different knowledge field, BIOSTEC provides a comprehensive platform for interdisciplinary collaboration.”

For Shival, participating in the conference proved to be an enriching experience, allowing him to engage with a diverse array of research presented by approximately 200 participants from various institutes and organizations worldwide. Every presentation and discussion offered valuable insights that further enriched his own work.

“I am humbled and honoured to share that I was awarded the Best Student Paper Award for the Biodevices field. This achievement would not have been possible without the invaluable guidance and support of my supervisor, Taahirah Mangera from the University of Witwatersrand. I am enthusiastic about continuing to contribute to the field of Biomedical Engineering and am grateful for the opportunities for learning and recognition that events like BIOSTEC provide” he shares.

Shival Indermun, is originally from Durban in Kwa Zulu Natal. He has however spent a large part of his academic journey with the University of Witwatersrand for both his BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering. Before he joined Stellenbosch University, he worked for a start-up robotics company, but during the pandemic the pressure resulted in the closing of the company. During this uncertain period, he found himself at a crossroads, unsure of where to redirect his focus. It was then that he rekindled his passion for research and reached out to SU and in particular Prof. Kristiaan Schreve, whose encouragement and unwavering support propelled him towards embarking on doctoral studies. Now he finds himself deeply immersed in the department, as a part-time doctoral student and a junior lecturer.

His doctoral research revolves around advancing visual robotic navigation in dynamically changing environments, with a particular emphasis on exploring human-object interactions within a given scene.

“The practical application of my research is targeted at enhancing robotic navigation within hospital environments. Additionally, my enduring interest in biomedical engineering research is evident through my MSc thesis, which resulted in the development of a cost-effective, flexible sensor glove tailored for measuring the range of motion in finger joints” says Shival.

“Throughout my academic journey, the consistent thread in my research focus has been the application of engineering to improve the lives of individuals. While building a reputation within my academic community is important, my ultimate goal extends beyond recognition. I aspire to make a tangible impact by leveraging my research and passions to assist and enhance the well-being of people.”

We asked about his passions and how he spends his time besides research and work and he reveals a unique gift he shares with the world.

“Outside of work I am deeply passionate about the stoicism and the desire to be better. So much so that I create content catered towards that message with my page being called “this_comfort”. It’s a play on the word comfort and discomfort with two specific meanings; the avoidance of resistance (discomfort) or the main definition a state of unease where growth is exponential and inevitable (this comfort). Essentially, I’m trying to send a message that growth and fulfilment is not achieved in avoiding difficulty but by embracing it. That the way to reach your goals and ambitions is not just a step forward but a step outside your comfort zone. The best versions of me that show up, are not exactly when the conditions are perfect but usually when I am met with some resistance or adversity. Establishing this page is my way of contributing to the community, particularly during a period when mental health has risen to the forefront as a pressing concern.”

We wish Shival well with his studies and congratulations on this accolade. We cherish the unique personal gift he brings to us by blurring the line between discomfort and growth.

Conference details: 21-23 Febraury 2024