Mint reviews five innovative healthcare projects that were showcased at a recent exhibition in Mumbai
Aimed at making low-cost, yet effective medical care accessible from home through smart devices, MIT Media Lab has partnered with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Hinduja Hospital and Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research (WeSchool) to develop a co-innovation model called Rethinking Engineering, Design eXecution (RedX).
The partners mentor engineering students from campuses across India to create smart device prototypes for affordable healthcare that can be offered for commercial use. RedX, according to Ramesh Raskar, associate professor and director of the Camera Culture Group at MIT Media Lab, is “a co-innovation model where a lot of technologies that are being developed at MIT (and) are being managed with needs in developing countries like India". WeSchool works with the MIT Media Lab team members to see how these health technology solutions can be developed, prototyped, designed and possibly deployed.
According to Raskar, RedX received 1,000 applicants from India this year, and selected 80 of them. In addition, 15 WeSchool students, and 20 scientists and doctors from Boston were selected. Some of these students will get a summer internship of six weeks in May-June at MIT Media Lab to evaluate if the products can be sold in the market. Currently in its third year, RedX is targeting five billion people through this initiative. Mint reviewed five such innovative projects that were showcased at a recent exhibition in Mumbai.
Project: Sleep apnea
Product: ARAM (apnea and rest analysis mask)
Technology: A wearable, reusable sleep apnea diagnostic mask for at-home mass-screening, ARAM uses algorithms (a procedure or formula for solving a problem) to track sleep patterns. It also has sensors fitted into the sleep mask that can be worn through the night, and can upload the captured data on a server that can be sent online to a doctor, who can analyse the kind of treatment needed. The team is now looking to make the contraption more compact and fine-tune it for commercial deployment at an affordable cost.
The students: Anchit Srivastava (21), Trivikram Annamalai (24) and Aditya Gupte (29) from IIT Bombay; Swadhin Thakkar (20) from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Mumbai; Sujeat Parredy (20) from BITS Pilani, Hyderabad; Dhruv Joshi (25) from LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad; and Brij Srivastava (24) from International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad.
Technology: A portable, wearable device that enables automated diagnosis of cardiac health using a mobile and Web interface, the Cardio24 device can be worn as a belt around the chest to monitor the rate of heart beats and also detect possible heart diseases. The device sends data wirelessly to a mobile app that transmits it to a doctor to create an accurate report. The group is looking at partners to make this device commercial in a couple of months. Going forward, the group is planning to develop a complete portable electrocardiogram monitoring system.
The students: Parth Mehta (25) from Leaf Technologies Pvt. Ltd; P. Harsha Vardhan (21) from IIT Guwahati; Aranya Goswami (21) from IIT Kharagpur; Angad Daryani (16) from Jamnabai Narsee School, Mumbai; Yamuna B.S. (21) from PES Institute of Technology, Bangalore; Rajeshree Maji (24) and Payal Sharma (27) from WeSchool.
Project: Skin perfusion tomography
Product: WAND (wound analysis device)
Technology: Working on the principle of skin perfusion tomography, WAND is a wireless device that uses lasers and scientific cameras to analyse wounds with the help of a skin perfusion map. Skin perfusion tomography is a method of evaluating the body’s skin colour, condition and blood flow through the vessels by digitally imaging (tomography) parts of the body. When an individual places a part of the body in front of the camera, a skin perfusion map displays the rate of blood flow. A collection of red patches indicates high blood flow, while blue patches would indicate a wounded tissue. The doctor can view this map on a laptop without the patient being present and accordingly prescribe treatment. Multiple mapping after treatment is advised to confirm shrinkage of the blue region, indicating healing of the wound, and thus, successful treatment. The group is looking to make the device portable, with a more powerful processor and a liquid crystal display screen attached to view the perfusion maps, negating the need to log into a laptop to view the map.
The students: Indranil Chandra (20) and Chaitra Jambigi (20) from VJTI, Mumbai; Deepak Kumar (22) from Gandhi Institute for Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha; Bhakti Baheti (23) from Shri Guru Gobind Singhji Institute, Nanded, Maharashtra.
Project: Otoscope headphone design
Technology: A headphone-mounted imaging device, OTO is a cost-effective otoscope (also called an auriscope, a medical device that is used to look into the ears) and, when connected to a computer, takes images of the eardrum and is programmed to detect any defect. These images can be sent to a doctor, so that one does not have to make a physical visit to an ear specialist. Besides, the group believes that currently there are few smart, digitized otoscopes, and those are available at a very high cost. However, OTO can be made available at a fraction of that cost. As a next step, the group wants to add 3D imaging and X-ray to the device, and improve on the design.
The students: Neeta Kanuja (27), owner of Algo Design Studio; Foram Shah (22) from WeSchool; Manu Ravindran (28) software professional; Surbhi Hablani (24) research associate from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Hyderabad; Krishna Rastogi (23) from PES Institute, Bangalore.
Project: Low-cost X-ray imaging device
Technology: X-Scan is a solution targeted at the rural areas. It replaces the expensive flat panel detector in an X-ray with a low-cost contact image sensor scanner, to enable more people to avail of X-ray facilities and thus detect ailments at an early stage. Using a series of special lenses, light is captured onto a small imaging sensor, which converts it to an X-ray image. The group is currently working on incorporating a number of sensors to increase the resolution.
The students: Prathamesh Barde (26) and Harshal Sawant (26) from WeSchool; Naman Bansal (21) from IIT Gandhinagar; Charu Gaur (26) from IIT Delhi.
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