5 questions with Shashi Jain: From space fuel to prosthetic hands, pushing the boundaries of AI and 3D printing

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Shashi Jain is on a mission to equip future entrepreneurs with the tools, skills, and mindset they need to realize their own unlimited potential – and change the world in the process.

 

What is your job at Intel and how did you get into the field?

During my 17 years at Intel, I’ve held almost every role imaginable – applications engineer, technologist, product manager, etc. Now I’m an innovation manager for virtual reality, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.

My group puts Intel products in new and interesting use cases. Take, for example, our ongoing public/private partnership with NASA. We apply machine learning to space exploration, specifically to address the problem of finding space resources. We are building mapping tools that will help future missions to mine resources from the Moon and asteroids. That, in turn, will help establish orbital depots to fuel missions to Mars and the outer planets.

How did you become involved in prosthetics outreach?

About five years ago, I bought a 3D printer. I started visiting every electronics Meetup in town and found a number of people who also had a 3D printer. I founded the Portland 3D Printing Lab to give us a place to share projects and resources. There, we’ve pushed the bounds on what can be done with group 3D printing.

I also work with the worldwide eNABLE community. We create specialized designs and deliver custom-fit, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs to those in need. Out local Portland Chapter holds a charity event called Adopt-a-Hand at the OMSI Maker Faire where people assemble prosthetic hands for donation.

I’m passionate about 3D printing and speak about it professionally, but for me what we do with eNABLE is the single best use of that technology. It’s a labor of love and I hope it continues forever.

What do you for fun?

On the weekends, I teach innovation and entrepreneurship to local high school students through an organization called TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE). I’m the lead educator for TYE Oregon and Global Education Director for TYE Global. In the past couple of years, about 1500 students passed through our curriculum and built businesses with us worldwide. We teach them design thinking, rapid prototyping, lead startup, and customer interviewing.  This year we’ve been able to expand our program to underprivileged schools in Portland such as Rosemary Anderson, Reynolds High School, and Benson High School.

It’s an incredible feeling when you see a student’s face and know you’ve changed something for them. More importantly, they realize something new about themselves. It’s like they’ve discovered they have a super power for the first time. There’s nothing like it.

 

What advice do you have for potential entrepreneurs?

You are not just a sum of the things you’ve done in your professional world. You have outside passions and interests. Figure out how to bring your skills and passions together to grow something more. Find a big problem to solve in a space you’re passionate about.

What closing words of wisdom do you want to share?

Anyone can be an innovator. You should always try to invent the next best version of yourself. Interesting opportunities will come your way if you say “yes” a little more than you say “no.”

 

Still curious about Shashi’s work with prosthetics? Learn more here.

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