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In a mark of immense pride for India, a startup from IIT-Madras has pocketed a whopping million dollar deal from a Singapore-based company. The order involves transferring technology used by Merkel Haptics’ first two products — “Laparoscopy Surgical Simulator with Haptics Feedback” and “In-Vitro Fertilisation Training Simulation with Haptics Feedback.”

The technologies used in the products created by the 6-year-old startup focuses on clinical training using virtual patients so that actual treatment can become safer for humans. Merkel Haptics’ products can revolutionise the way doctors train to make human lives safer.

While in the international market, high-end simulators with haptics feedback can cost an individual somewhere around Rs 2 crore. But, these new technologies that Merkel Haptics‘ products use can bring down the cost considerably to just about Rs 30-35 lakhs. The startup’s products integrate virtual reality with haptics.

Nurtured at IIT-Madras’ Touch Lab, Merkel Haptics was formed with an aim of converting lab work into physical, commercial products. The startup claims to be the first startup for touch technologies in India. On the other hand, Touch Lab at IIT Madras’ Applied Mechanics Department was formed with an objective of researching the sense of touch.

According to a statement given by Prof M Manivannan, the Founder Chairman of Merkel Haptics, the project was started when he visited CMC Vellore and watched a laproscopic surgery in session. This is when the idea of laparoscopy surgical simulator with haptics feedback was converted into a PhD thesis and a prototype was eventually developed in the lab in five years. After this, the project was taken to Merkel, where it was made into a commercially viable product and patented in 2012-13.

CMC Vellore took the responsibility of providing chemical advisory input and carried out the preliminary validation of the product, the government provided a whopping Rs 60 lakh for the project. The “Make in India” committed startup’s second product – In-Vitro Fertilisation Training Simulation — has been commissioned by Biomedical Systems Put Ltd, Singapore and Innov4Sight Health.

According to Merkel Haptic Systems Pvt Ltd CEO P B C Paul, their real objective is to choose an Indian company transfer so that the Indian customer can afford these products. The company decided to go for the Singapore company as enjoys a huge customer base in India.

Paul believes that their technology can successfully replace a real patient with a virtual patient and doctors can then practice on these virtual patients numerous times until they have mastered the skill. Even though the Medical Council of India has made skill labs mandatory for doctors, but these virtual technology with haptics feedback aren’t currently available in India and foreign companies are taking advantage of this situation and minting big money. Merkel Haptic Systems Pvt Ltd can change this situation forever.

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