Nearly 100 doctors and engineers teamed up for eMEDHA (Medical Device Hackathon) organized by IIT Bombay during 8-16 May 2021. Each team was led by a doctor, supported by engineers with mechanical, electronics, software and other backgrounds. Within the week, each team generated new solution concepts and fabricated proof-of-concept (POC), mentored by medical and engineering experts. Many teams had members scattered across different towns, yet they managed to bond and collaborate using virtual platforms like Zoom. The proof-of-concept was fabricated using readily available materials in their households or markets nearby.
On Sunday, 16th May, the grand finale of the hackathon witnessed 22 teams presenting their POCs to a jury panel and 25 expert reviewers. These included novel concepts to remove air from intravenous line, chemotherapy drug delivery, drug dispensing and adherence for TB patients, and avoiding injection needle injury to caregivers. Some teams worked on diagnosis and monitoring devices for sleep apnea, retinopathy, bruxism (teeth grinding) and arterial blood gas analysis. Several teams worked on innovations to improve surgeries, such as tumour margin guide, patient positioning, rotator cuff repair, vitrectomy and virtual dissection table. A few teams worked on solutions for laparoscopy surgery including camera holder, camera movement and haptic feedback.
The grand finale was inaugurated by Prof. Amit Agrawal, Dean- International Relations, IIT Bombay, well-known for his work in micro-fluidics. He highlighted the importance of indigenous development of medical devices with the right combination of functionality, reliability and manufacturability. Jury members included Prof. Parag Bhargava, a biomaterials expert, Dr. U. Chandrasekhar, a 3D printing expert from Wipro3D, Mr. Chirag Tanna, Director of patenting firm Ink Idee, and several eminent doctors who had posed the clinical problems that were taken up by the participants.
Every team was appreciated for their efforts. The best teams won awards sponsored by Autodesk India, to develop advanced prototypes. Most of the participants found the experience to be highly enriching and rewarding. Akash Gupta, a chemical engineer from Gwalior said: “What an experience! We had team members dropping in and out through the week, managing their work schedules.” They included Aishwarya from PGIMER Chandigarh, Srusti from COE Bhubaneswar and Rohit from SAMEER Mumbai guided by Dr. Shankargouda from SDM Dharwad and Prabhat from IIT Bombay. When their idea for a reusable instrument for vitrectomy (removal of eye fluid) won an award, Aishwarya exclaimed: “Today after years we jumped on bed after winning.”
Pradnya Gharpure from VNIT Nagpur teamed up with Dr. Jaiprakash, AFMC Pune, Akanksha from Nashik and Sneha from APCOER Pune. Mentored by Dr. Unnati from Mumbai they came up with an award-winning idea for continuous monitoring of arterial
blood gas. Pradnya said: “eMEDHA was an awesome experience and has fueled our passion to keep working towards innovative and impactful healthcare solutions!” Another award- winning idea was ‘Rotasyringe’ to prevent needle stick injury and cross-contamination in health workers, by Madhavi from SCEC Pharmacy College Pune, Harish from CSIR-CSIO Chandigarh, Amulya from Crofting Tech Hubli and Sampada from RTMNU Nagpur.
The hackathon was organized by BETIC (Biomedical Engineering and Technology Innovation Centre), a network of 13 engineering and medical institutes supported by the S&T Commission, Mumbai and Ministry of S&T, New Delhi. The medical devices developed at these centres during the last five year have been licensed to 16 startup companies and several other industry partners. Some of them, such as smart stethoscope, diabetic foot screener, hybrid plaster splint and prosthetic leg have already benefitted several thousand patients, most of them in the rural areas.