IIT Bombay is known for its quality education in the country. On 13th April 2019, BETiC [Biomedical Engineering & Technology(incubation) Centre] held it’s 5th Annual meeting and Medical Device Expo, which bought doctors, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders under one roof to witness 20 new inventions.
BETiC – Biomedical Engineering & Technology incubation Centre was established at IIT Bombay in 2014, followed by satellite centers at VNIT Nagpur and COE Pune in 2015. These were funded by RGSTC, Government of Maharastra, Mumbai and DST, Govt.of India, New Delhi to catalyse indigenous medical device innovation and entrepreneurship.
Today BETiC have 14 centers across the state in short span of time of 5 years and more than 100 doctors and engineers are working together to bring change and new affordable innovation in the field of medical science.
BETiC has developed more than 120 proof of concepts and filed patents for 50 different novel and affordable medical devices. Of these 12 products are licensed to 7 startups and 5 other Indian companies.
Man behind BETiC- Founder Prof. B. Ravi
Prof. B. Ravi is an Institute Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Bombay, and founder of E-Foundry as well as BETiC – Biomedical Engineering & Technology Incubation Centre.
He has guided almost 14 Ph.D. and 80 Masters students. Apart from this his 50 technical papers, 300 conference talks and 60 training programmes are extremely beneficial to working professionals and teachers.
Prof. Ravi also contributes to best practices and policies related to translational research and product innovation and have been recognized by Abdul Kalam Technology Innovation National Fellowship, DST India Innovation Growth Programme Award, INAE Fellowship, and other awards.
We were lucky to interact with Prof. B. Ravi and he shares his journey and gave out insights to all those who aspire to fulfill their dreams.
Interview with Prof. B.Ravi
Q. It’s the 5th Annual year of BETiC and your team’s working on new innovations every year! How do you feel about it?
Prof. Ravi: We never thought we will reach this much. It was a project funded by the state government of Maharastra, they just said develop 12 products, train 50 innovators and get in touch with 1 doctor every quarter which means 20 doctors in 5 years.
But we have actually developed 120 proof of concepts which is 10 times more than what we were initially asked to target and we have filed 50 patents so far. With 12 products already licensed to 7 start-up companies and 5 industry companies.
We initially never planned on taking the product to the market, we said we will develop them and give them to market experts to take it forward. We said 20 doctors, but now there are more than 50 doctors who have been part of our journey for patent filings and we are in touch with 200 doctors. We said we will train 50 people but till now we have trained almost 500 innovators.
This is so much more than what we had anticipated.
Ques: Share the secret about how you achieved this and how it all happened?
Prof. Ravi: It’s all about the 24*7 hard work that’s put in by the team. There are a few things we did…We got all the stakeholders together from the beginning. Everyone, whether it’s Doctors, Innovators, Engineers, Government, Industry manufacturers everyone was with us from the beginning and these 50 patents happened in the last 3 years of our 5-year journey.
We made sure we were focused on innovation. Whether it was for awards or pitching ideas to the market, we always focused on our end objective which was touching patients lives through these medical innovations.
Ques: Which of your innovations is closest to your heart and which one you feel is most needed by the Indian Medical field?
Prof. Ravi: This is the toughest question, asking a mother who is your favorite child always puts her in a spot. The youngest one is always dear and the eldest is always looked up with pride. So, our oldest innovation is the software for converting x-rays into 3 dimensions that can be used for surgery planning where no CT is required. This innovation has traveled all over the world and staked by Y Combinators in the U.S.
The youngest one is Ayulink smart stethoscope which can detect and record heart and lung noises and digitally transmit them — making it a boon for health practitioners in India’s isolated villages.
One of the newest innovations incubated is Aneesh Karma’s calipers for polio people or week leg patients. This is developed by an innovator who is a polio victim himself and is just a 12th pass. It was tough to get him in IIT as he is not a B.Tech but thanks to Govt of Maharastra and IIT Bombay’s consideration, we managed to get him in. He is a born innovator and in 6 months he has developed this with the innovation environment he received here.
Ques: Are these medical innovations really affordable?
Prof. Ravi: Affordability is one of the primary concern. Our cost per project must be easily 1/20th of anywhere less than in the world.
Ques: Your Book which is endorsed by honorable Prime Minister Modi Ji “Essence of Medical Device innovation”. Share what it’s all about.
Prof. Ravi: This book is basically 16 stories of the innovators and along with this we shared 16 steps of the innovation game from idea to impact. When I started writing this book I got to know so much about the backgrounds of our young innovators, some of them are not even IIT students, but their innovation stories are beyond inspiring.
Ques: As you mentioned you have innovators who are not from IIT but from rural areas or remote parts of India. What if someone wants to share his idea. How does he reach out to you?
Prof. Ravi: We have 14 centers of BETiC across India, they can walk into any of these centers or write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org about their ideas.
Ques: Message for readers ..
Prof. Ravi: People have aspirations, people are wiggling to get it at least support who is doing it. People want a better quality of life, better living, jobs, and all. Those who don’t have a job, it will take time job to be created, you can’t wait for it. Create a job, hire someone who needs. India is land of problems and problems means you have more opportunities it’s up to you how you bring out opportunity from the problem.
People have aspirations. People want a better quality of life, better living, jobs etc. Those who don’t have a job, need to think of ways and means to start something new, you can’t wait for it. India is a land of problems and problems means you have more opportunities, it’s up to you how you create an opportunity out of the problem you see people are facing.
You can do multiple things. The Government is really supportive today, they are ready to invest in the right projects.
At the medical Expo, 20 great innovations were exhibited and the one I really liked was Ayulynk smart stethoscope.
In a quick chit chat with Adarsh and Tapas, the innovators of this great device, I was told that this screening tool can record and send heart and lung data from rural patients to urban doctors to get a correct diagnosis.
He also shared that this device is available in only 14,000/- Rs which is quite affordable in comparison to the imported digital stethoscope.
This is one of the greatest innovations and I am sure soon the Indian Medical industry will be able to serve patients better with it.
After this event, I came out with a lot of knowledge and felt proud to be an Indian as we have such amazing young talent all around us. We’re surely on the right path of development that the country needs.
Share in the comment section do you know someone who is working hard enough to make his/her innovation dream come live.
© Ruchie Verma.
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