Kranthi Kiran Vistakula's early days at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US, were not comfortable. The intense winter cold bothered him no end. But Vistakula - universally referred to by his first name, Kranthi - a student of mechanical engineering and technology policy, soon found a solution - he invented a technology to provide both heating and cooling on demand. He patented it in the US, India and a few other countries, and later - back home in Hyderabad in end-2007 - he founded Dhama Innovations, which used his patented technology to develop braces and wraps that could turn both warm and cool as required. These have numerous applications in health-care as pain relievers. "The products can go from zero degrees Centigrade to 40 degrees in a matter of seconds," he says. "They are easy to use and have no moving part." Today, Dhama, begun in January 2008, named after his mother Dhamayanthi, has orders from the US to supply Rs 250 crore worth of Climaware products - as his creations are called - over the next five years.
His chief distributor in the US is the Florida-based Ed Marti, who has been in the medical devices business for over two decades. "My brother came across the product at a Las Vegas show where it won an award," he says. "I then contacted Kranthi. I ordered a knee brace to check out the product myself. I saw tremendous potential in this innovative technology." He was also delighted with Kranthi's willingness to adapt, based on customer feedback. "I was amazed to see how fast he and his team could make changes," Marti added. Dhama's extended range of products includes the highly popular carpal tunnel wrap - for painful wrists - and braces which, apart from heating and cooling also provide electrical muscle stimulation or electrical nerve stimulation. "There is no mess, no need for ice buckets, no need to stay plugged in to an electrical source or sit at one place," says Marti. "The patient can be mobile and self administer the therapy. The market potential is enormous."