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November 16, 2019

Chandra Devam | Top 40 Under 40 2019

Her company is gaining international acclaim for its breakthroughs, but she still takes time to nurture Edmonton’s young minds. 

Photograph by Aaron Pedersen

Age: 39

Job title: CEO, Aris MD

Why she’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40: Her company is gaining international acclaim for its breakthroughs, but she still takes time to nurture Edmonton’s young minds.

Chandra Devam had the kind of childhood you’d expect from any tech maven. She lived on a farm near the hamlet of Colinton. It had no running water. No well. Her parents kept bees and lived a vegetarian lifestyle. There was no cable.

“But living like that, playing in the woods really fostered my creativity,” says Devam, who runs a rising international tech company that’s earning global acclaim and winning awards from NASA.

Now, she and Chief Technology Officer Scott Edgar (Top 40 Under 40, Class of 2018) are travelling the world to meet with the global clients of Aris MD, which is not only a health care game changer, but could have applications in the oil patch, industrial sector and aerospace.

Aris MD allows doctors the ability to view full 3D renderings of their patients. Because no two human bodies are the same, the doctor can see exactly where they need to make an incision in order to access a specific patient’s heart, internal organs and bones. It takes any guesswork or estimating out of the medical process.

“Why don’t we give doctors X-ray vision?” Devam asks.

But, because the technology can detect things the naked eye can’t see, even with the aid of a scan, it can also be applied to look for things like a crack in a pipeline. And it might detect a microscopic default that could keep a satellite or capsule from being destroyed.

Because of this, Aris MD has won a couple of major awards from NASA.

Applying for NASA iTech was a bit of a lark. The team was in Austin for the SXSW festival, for a book launch, and entered the NASA iTech competition as a bit of a “why not?” exercise.

“I didn’t realize we were pitching NASA, I thought we were pitching to pitch NASA,” she recalls.

Devam makes regular returns to Edmonton so she can teach grade-school kids university-level programming and robotics courses. She feels Canadian schools are sorely behind when it comes to high tech, so every little bit helps. Kids are programming and designing websites by Grade 3, and working with robotics by Grades 4 and 5.

“It feels very fulfilling when I hear a child say ‘I love this.’ I get recharged.”

This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Avenue Edmonton.

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