The Medical Device Innovation Camp (MEDIC) at IIT-Bombay, which was inaugurated on September 28 and concluded on October 2, had 60 participants from Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Kolkata, Guwahati, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Patiala, Jodhpur, Goa, Surathkal, Cochin, Bengaluru, Chennai, Bhimavaram and other cities of India.
They formed 15 inter-disciplinary teams, each led by a doctor, and created proofs-of-concept of innovative solutions for various medical problems provided by top doctors from various hospitals. The Biomedical Engineering and Technology incubation Centre (BETiC) of IIT-B, along with five engineering and five medical institutes across Maharashtra who have set up BETiC cells, organised the five-day camp.
What the participants said…
“I’d accumulated two treasures over the years, but lost them within four days at the Medical Device Innovation Camp at IIT-Bombay. One was my ego and the other was being judgmental,” said Dr Chitra Lekha from Chennai. The other participants also shared their experiences during the ‘award acceptance’ speeches on the final day of the camp.
“What we did here in four days is unthinkable even in four months,” said one participant. Another exclaimed, “I’m an early-to-bed person, and can’t believe I’m still standing here after four straight nights-out.” Sleepless, yet not tired, the participants mentioned how they were kept on their toes by their BETiC mentors.
Each team was led by a doctor, supported by design, electronics and mechanical engineers. Most were industry professionals, entrepreneurs and teachers; a few were final-year students. They were invited to the camp after passing a screening round based on their domain expertise and creative potential.
- The results were impressive going by the comments of about 50 senior doctors from top hospitals in Mumbai, Pune and other cities, who gathered at IIT-B to evaluate the team presentations
- Dr Manish Agarwal from Hinduja Hospital, Dr Hemant Bhansali from Nanavati Hospital, Dr Alaric Aroojis from Wadia Hospital, Dr Dasmit Singh from BJ Medical College, Pune, and others associated with various medical device projects at BETiC grilled the participants while offering useful suggestions
There were three groups of devices:
- Surgical and
There were five categories of prizes, one each for
- Engineering and
The screening devices that won prizes included ones for intracranial pressure measurement, lung volume measurement, continuous blood glucose monitoring, preterm delivery detection and peripheral vascular disease detection.
Devices that won prizes in the other groups were anti-bacterial microbiology, nasal bleeding blocker, smart surgery headlights, tumour margin guidance, portable ventilator, splints for burns, sleep apnea preventer, below-knee stump measurement, moving orbital prosthesis and clubfoot deformity measurement.
The prizes were given away by Dr Mohit Gambhir, Director-Innovation of the ministry of HRD, Delhi; Dr Nishigandha Naik, Director, Haffkine Institute; Dr Anita Aggarwal, Department of S&T, Delhi; Dr Arun Sapre, Anil Manekar and Dr Pragati Gokhale from the RG S&T Council, Maharashtra government; Hiten Gandhi from the Maharashtra State Innovation Society; Prof. BB Ahuja, Director, College of Engineering, Pune; Prof. AM Kuthe, VNIT, Nagpur; Deepankar Bhattarcharya from Autodesk Education, Bangalore and other invited dignitaries.
Many participants of the previous MEDIC camps had left lucrative careers elsewhere and joined BETiC. In the past four years, they developed 50 medical devices and filed their patents. Of these, 20 have been commercialized by licensing to start-up companies or industry partners. These products, as well as those ready for licensing, were showcased at a concurrent Medical Device Expo (MEDEX), inaugurated by Padma Vibhushan Dr Anil Kakodkar and Prof. Subhasis Chaudhury, Director, IIT-B, the previous day. Over 500 visitors saw the devices and talked to their innovators.
Some of the start-ups also pitched to potential investors at a special session in the presence of Prof. Santosh Gharpure, who heads SINE, the technology-business incubator of IIT-B. The start-ups included:
- Ayu Devices, which has already sold over 650 units of their smart stethoscopes
- Ayati Devices, which had launched a diabetic foot screener
- Aumeesh Tech, which had developed a knee ankle foot orthosis; and
- Tenon Meditech, which is commercialising a biopsy gun
All these were developed at BETiC, IIT-B. The investors included:
- MD Agarwal, former President, Bombay Management Association
- Nitin Deshmukh of Kotak Private Equity
- G Ramachandran of Keiretsu Forum
- Leonard Menezes of Ace Alcobev
- Mayur Sirdesai of Somerset Indus, Mauritius
- Ram Kedlaya of Keiretsu and
- Senior management of several pharma companies, including Alembic, Biocon and Torrent
They asked questions about the business model and market traction and offered guidance and support to the young entrepreneurs.
‘BETiC is like a ‘running partner’ to med-tech innovators, offering them water, glucose and encouragement to run faster to the finish line, providing a market for their products. We’re now planning to extend our expertise and services to other researchers and entrepreneurs — both within and outside IIT-B — by setting up a not-for-profit company. This is under the active consideration of the Maharashtra government and IIT-Bombay’
- B Ravi, founder of BETiC
‘Finding their way in the dark’
‘The participants didn’t know what problem they’d solve, who their team members would be and what tools and techniques were to be used to solve the problems’
- Dr Rupesh Ghyar, chief mentor, BETiC
‘Long and arduous journey’
‘Innovation is what makes life easier. But innovation, itself, is a long and arduous journey. I still can’t believe that the proofs-of-concept presented by the participants were given to them only 100 hours ago and they didn’t even know who their team members were. This shows what we can achieve with such an exemplary ecosystem as BETiC’
- Dr Mohit Gambhir (who also chaired the presentation sessions)