The Medical Device Hackathon (MEDHA) at Haffkine Institute for Training, Research and Testing during the weekend of 13-14 July came alive with 10 teams developing proofs-of-concept of novel medical devices and presenting them to a jury of senior doctors and engineers.

Each team had 4 members with medical, design, mechanical and electronics backgrounds. The hackathon was organized by the Biomedical Engineering & Technology innovation Centre (BETiC), IIT Bombay in collaboration with BETiC cells of KJ Somaiya College of Engineering and MGM Institute of Health Sciences, Navi Mumbai.

[caption id="attachment_131938" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Students brainstorming to generate ideas at-MEDHA-2019 an initiative by BETiC( Biomedical-Engineering-and-Technology-innovation Centre) at Haffkine Institute[/caption]

These 40 participants were shortlisted from over 140 applicants. They selected problems of interest to them, from a list of 20 unmet clinical needs put forth by medical professionals. The key solutions presented included a 15-second pH measurement device (as against the conventional 2 hours), a new CPAP device for sleep apnea that provides a valve to release air pressure, and a portable device that can be taken to an accident venue to measure the stump for below-the-knee amputation.

Other problems addressed were measurement of CPR effectiveness, Intelligent OT lightening system, de-fogger for laparoscopic cameras, single-step blood glucose monitoring, cleaning of voice prosthesis in laryngectomy cases and clubfoot deformity measurement.

Senior innovators of BETiC continuously mentored the participants through day and night of the hackathon, which started on Saturday morning and concluded on Sunday evening. The prizes were given away by Dr. Nishigandha Naik, Director of Haffkine Institute and Prof. B. Ravi, founder of BETiC.

Dr. Nishigandha Naik said that “The participants had only 24 hours to come up with new ideas to solve the clinical problems. Going by the highly encouraging and positive comments of the jury members, the results are truly remarkable."

Dr. Rupesh Ghyar, SEO of BETiC mentioned that “The participants faced three uncertainties: what is the problem; which team members they will work with; and what tools will be available. MEDHA exemplifies the close collaboration between doctors and engineers that can produce great results within a short period."

The proof-of-concept along with formulated prototypes was presented before a panel of jury members comprising Dr. Chivate, Dr. Nitin Mahajan, Dr. Prashant Howal, Dr. RG Karndikar, Dr. Usha Sharma, Dr. Neelam Shirsat, Dr. Sarda Menon, Dr. Rajani Mullerpatan, Dr. Ramesh Lekurwale, Mr. Rajesh Patil, Mr. Ramesh Pudale, and Ms. Reeta Gupta.

Prof. B. Ravi, founder of BETiC, shared that "This is the 9th MEDHA organized by BETiC. We are honoured to partner with Haffkine Institute, which is setting up a BETiC cell under an MoU signed in the presence of honourable CM of Maharashtra. With 14 centres across the state, BETiC has become a large network of medical device innovation centres."

During award acceptance speeches one of the participants exclaimed: "It is said that if we want to go fast, we should go alone; to go farther, we should go together. However, the MEDHA experience shows that is possible to go both faster and farther."

BETiC Biomedical Engineering and Technology (innovation) Centre is located at IIT Bombay, with satellite centres in four engineering colleges (VNIT Nagpur, COE Pune, KJSCE Mumbai, MIT-ADT Pune) and three medical institutes (MGMIHS Sanpada, DMIMS Wardha, BKLWH Dervan). The initiative is envisioned and supported by RGSTC, Govt. of Maharashtra, Mumbai and DST, New Delhi, to accelerate indigenous development of affordable medical devices suitable for local manufacture and use.

The Haffkine Institute for Training, Research and Testing is located in Parel in Mumbai (Bombay), India. It was established on 10 August 1899 by Dr. Waldemar Mordechai Wolff Haffkine - a bacteriologist from the Russian Empire. Dr. Haffkine has been instrumental in finding a vaccine for the bubonic plague that had proven to be more difficult than for cholera. The Haffkine Institute is one of the oldest biomedical research institutes in the country.

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