Innovations for a healthier population

Apr 22, 2014, 10:01 IST | Nevin Thomas

A group of young doctors and engineers are designing portable gadgets and smart-phone applications to monitor a range of illnesses that haunt our society

Have you ever thought you could do a diagnostic test using your phone? uChek, a smart-phone application, lets you perform urine analysis at your home with the click of a button. One among the many innovative products from Mumbai-based medical engineering and design firm, Biosense. 

Dr Yogesh Patil at work

The company started in 2008, when a group of young doctors and engineers got together with a common goal of finding an easier way to detect anaemia, that accounts to nearly 40 percent of maternal deaths in the country.

Pricking the skin is still seen as a taboo in some parts of rural India and their first product, ToucHb, a non-invasive device for measuring haemoglobin content in blood, came as a welcome alternative.

The founding team — Dr Yogesh Patil, Dr Abhishek Sen, Aman Midha and Mishkin Ingawale

“The initial years were tough, as we continued to tweak our product to produce a result that could match the efficiency of a laboratory test,” said co-founder Dr Abhishek Sen. It was this very persistence for perfection that compelled Dr Sen to pursue biomedical engineering at IIT Bombay after his medical degree.

Under the support and guidance of IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), Villgro and the Echoing Green fellowship, the company found stability and started designing products that were market friendly.

After the success of ToucHb and uChek, the company has now come up with a low-cost glucometer named SuChek.

ToucHb, Biosense’s device to measure haemoglobin content in blood

Diabetes has started affecting people of all classes and age groups in India. Waiting for the green signal from the Drug Controller General of India to hit the market, the easy to use SuChek glucometer and the glucostrips will be available at a price that is considerably lesser than the imported instruments.

The firm, which works out from Thane, is looking at expanding its distribution network from four states to twelve in the coming year. They are also continuously working to ensure that their products remain inexpensive and easily available. While initially, uChek was launched for the iPhone, it is now available as an Android application as well. “We were always driven by the cause and not the profit we could make out of it,” maintains Dr Sen.

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