It would've been easy for Vanu Bose to rest on the laurels of his father, Amar Bose, the MIT professor and founder of Bose Corporation. Instead, Vanu built his own legacy – and changed the world in the process.
Shortly before graduating from MIT with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science in 1999, Bose founded Vanu Inc. to develop methods of providing cellular coverage to underserved areas. The company's software-defined radios were the first SDRs to be certified by the FCC, and their low power consumption allowed them to be powered by solar panels, providing affordable electricity and Internet access to remote regions.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Bose deployed 40 of his company's base stations to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help restore communications. Such charity was central to Bose's mission, as he told WBUR: "As soon as we can take a breath, I'm going to think about how can we make this part of our business so that we can rapidly deploy in an emergency – and not just around the U.S., anywhere in the globe."
Bose's death from a sudden pulmonary embolism was felt both globally and locally, including at his alma mater, where he served on the board of trustees. "The 'Bose' name has long been synonymous with brilliance, humility, leadership, and integrity," said MIT President L. Rafael Reif.
Bose's loss hit especially close to home at Vanu Inc. "He was the most brilliant, kind, humble, and thoughtful leader," said Elizabeth Griffin, Bose's assistant for more than 16 years. "He had a way of bringing out the best in everyone and was just an incredibly inspiring leader. He was one of a kind and was taken far, far too soon."
Bose was 52 when he died.