The Biomedical Engineering and Technology (incubation) Centre at IIT Bombay has created a unique eco-system for indigenous medical device innovation. In July-August 2017, they are organising a series of weekend Medical Device Hackathon (MEDHA), where interested doctors and engineers can team up to evolve innovative solutions for unmet clinical needs.
The MEDHA will be held at Mumbai, Pune, Wardha and Kolhapur (See date and venue details in table). Pre-registrations (at www.betic.in) are open till 25 June. Both working professionals and final year students of medical, design, mechanical and electronics steams can apply.
On Friday evening, selected participants will form teams and view curated videos of clinical problems. On Saturday, they will brainstorm ideas, sketch the concepts, and start fabricating their devices using kits provided by BETiC mentors. On Sunday, they will present their proof-of-concept before a jury panel.
“Our goal is to identify, train and support promising innovators to take their ideas all the way till the ‘edge of commercialisation’, and contribute to ‘Made in India’ medical devices” said Prof. B. Ravi, who heads the BETiC initiative.
It is common to see doctors enjoying engineering tasks like soldering and engineers grappling with medical issues at MEDHA. Some of the participants of previous events held at Mumbai, Nagpur and Bangalore left their jobs to work fulltime on medical devices. Over the last two years, the team has identified over 300 unmet clinical needs, developed proof-of-concept for 75 different problems, filed patents for 25 innovative devices, and licensed 10 of them to industry or NGOs.
Many renowned doctors from top hospitals are associated with BETiC. “We still have to import many medical devices, since there is no platform for dialogue between doctors and engineers. BETiC is a great initiative – the idea of doctors and engineers sitting together and discussing ideas is amazing. I have been associated with it for couple of years and working on two devices,” said Dr Lancelot Mark Pinto, Consultant Respirologist, Hinduja Hospital.
BETiC network now spans IIT-Bombay, College of Engineering, Pune, VNIT Nagpur and MGM Hospital in Navi Mumbai, and a few more institutes are set to join. They are supported by the government of Maharashtra to accelerate indigenous development and manufacturing of affordable medical devices suitable for the local population.