Technology pioneer Vanu Bose dies at 52

Vanu Bose, the Indian American who re-imagined cellular networks and extended service to people living in remote areas of the world, died at the age of 52 on Saturday, Nov. 11 in Concord, Massachusetts, from a pulmonary embolism that he had suffered in a hospital emergency room.

Born into one of Greater Boston’s most prominent technology families, Vanu Bose became an entrepreneur in his own right, founding a company that uses cellular base stations to help provide wireless infrastructure globally, including in sparsely populated areas from Vermont to Rwanda.

“Nobody’s been able to find a way to make rural developing-market coverage economically viable,” he told MIT Technology Review for a profile published three weeks ago.

Dr. Bose was 52 when he died Saturday of a pulmonary embolism, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced. His death comes four years after his father, Bose Corp. founder Amar G. Bose, died at 83.

Bose was the son of Amar Bose, the founder of the Bose Corporation, known for its high-quality audio systems and speakers, but instead of following through with the family business, Bose founded his own company, Vanu Inc.

The company has been able to develop durable cellular sites that could run on solar power by focusing on the radio components of wireless networks, which is used in many rural areas around the world.

Having already taken this technology to Africa, Bose’s latest venture took place in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria by donating more than three dozen cellular base stations, where it was used to help residents locate their family members. “It’s been so motivating for our employees, because everyone watches the news and says, I wish I could do something to help, suddenly we have a way to help,” Bose told the Boston Globe, nearly a month before he died.

“He always wanted to address the needs of people who did not have a voice, either politically or economically,” Andrew Beard, the chief operating officer of Vanu Inc., told the New York Times.

While he was an undergraduate at M.I.T, Bose told an M.I.T. publication, that he was always interested in wireless technology and even assisted his father in writing a paper about modifications to FM radio broadcasting.

Community Connect, a small base station developed by the company, weighing about 20 pounds, is designed to withstand grueling conditions, including temperatures of up to 132 degrees Fahrenheit, and runs on solar power rather than diesel fuel, making it better for both the economy and the environment.

This specific technology allows residents living in rural areas, to make calls or send a text message to friends and family living in nearby towns, as well as have them gain access to medical information, digital banking services and solar lighting systems. He is survived by his wife, Judy Bose, along with his daughter Kamala, 8, his mother formerly known as Prema Sarathy and his sister Maya Bose.

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