“Entrepreneurial eco-system is missing”

Mentions Prof. M Manivannan, Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT-Madras who has pioneered an innovative technology to train medical professionals. In an interview with the BioSpectrum, he talks about challenges to indigenous manufacturing

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Is there enough funding support available for indigenous medical technology development? What steps should government take to bring ‘Make in India' campaign to this sector?

Yes and no as there are enough funding resources available but at the same time takes enormous time to get it. By then the students change their mind and move on to something else. What is worst is that the entrepreneurial eco-system is missing It is not enough to have funding and the government initiatives. The entire product-lifecycle eco-system is needed. For a successful product there are so many other things needed, manufacturing for scaling, business strategies, patenting, regulatory bodies, academia industry relation, and social.

Education system in India needs revamping - the students should be encouraged hand-on experience in the college level, and their parents have to support entrepreneurship. It is big task, I wish the government sets up this eco-system in a mission mode. Look at the MIT and Stanford eco-systems. Let us not copy their eco-systems here, but let us adopt to our environment. Similarly, German eco-system is another which is thriving.

What was the idea behind taking up this project on indigenous cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) mannequin? How much time did it take to develop it? Any challenges?

We were simulating "Heart Attack Patient" for a research project. A mannequin has all the physiological signals of a real heart attack patient. This is designed for training a cardiologist diagnosing what type of heart attack the casualty has and subsequently for treating the patient. The treatment includes CPR as one of the intervention techniques. This is where we came across CPR.
It took us about four years. Initially we came up with a simple design, completely mechanical, do not involve electronics, does not involve electric power so that it could be used in remote villages. However, it was not appealing to the users, and they wanted more and more electronics, perhaps we are still in electronics era. It will be some time before the world starts appreciating things that don't involve electric power.

In what ways will this CPR mannequin be useful for medical students & researchers?

 

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