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Engineers, doctors join hands to solve real-life medical problems

Bengaluru, Nov 7, 2016, DHNS: 1:45 IST
A prototype of the jig for knee-balancing and ligament alignment, developed at the hackathon fest. PHOTO COURTESY/CPDM, IISC
Doctors, engineers, designers and business professionals put their heads together to solve real-life medical problems at the medical device hackathon fest, MeDHa’16 held at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

The four-day event, which concluded on Sunday, was organised by the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM) of IISc and Biomedical Engineering and Technology incubation Centre (BETiC), IIT Bombay. The participants, mostly working professionals, were divided into teams of four with one person from each discipline.

The 11 teams had to choose the problem they wanted to solve, from a list curated after consulting doctors. They had to address issues such as screening newborn babies for deafness, screening young adults for depression and managing anxiety attacks among young adults.

After three days of visits to hospitals and old-age homes to understand the problems in real-life situations, brainstorming and designing, the prototypes were presented on the final day. These potential health start-ups had to present their business models as well.

Manish Arora, key organiser and professor at CPDM said, “The idea was to see what happens when you bring people from different backgrounds together to work on a problem. The teams came up with novel solutions. If they are interested, they can apply either at IISc or at IIT-Bombay for incubation.”

Designer Krupakar Pasala and his team developed a jig for knee-balancing and ligament alignment to be used by doctors during knee-replacement surgeries. Describing his experience, Pasala said, “We had to be creative about the materials we used to make the prototype because we had limited time. It was challenging but I got to learn a lot.”

Chetan Pakhare, a researcher at BETiC, was the engineer on the team that developed a patch to control blood glucose in children with Type-I diabetes, painless and hassle-free.
“It was interesting because in four days I learned concepts like ergonomic design and target audience from the other fields.”

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