Smart ventilators that reduce lung injury, contactless devices for sanitization and a software for detecting infection on CT scan and X-ray are some of the innovations budding medical devices firms are coming up with to tackle the (Covid-19) pandemic.

All these will be available on Healthcare for Indian Healthcare (Hiiih), a medical entrepreneurship and innovation-enabling platform.

Hiiih has launched an initiative to bring together top healthcare firms that can collaborate and provide critical facilities to fight the disease.

“This is an unprecedented situation in the history of humankind. We need to be able to think and act in an agile manner and innovate as required. Hiiih was created to enable the Indian medical fraternity respond quickly,” said Jagdish Chaturvedi, founder of Hiiih, a noted ENT surgeon and stand-up comedian.

“This platform is doing a small bit to help the society and hopefully gives strength to all of us to fight this disease,” said Chaturvedi. He said medical start-ups are critical to fighting the epidemic, as they are nimble and have innovative ideas that can be deployed easily.

There are seven categories of start-ups that are working to help ease the Covid-19 crisis. They include ventilator development, disinfection and sanitization as well as mask and personal protective equipment. The other categories include drug development and helpline and support services.

One firm, Aerobiosys Innovations, is developing Duo-Vent, an artificial intelligent (AI)-enabled cost-effective and smart ventilator that can reduce lung injury and provides targeted therapy so that the ventilation time can be reduced. This allows the next person in the queue to get ventilation early.

Another firm Aikenist Technologies is providing automated detection of the severity of pneumonia due to Covid-19, based on artificial intelligence via X-ray and CT scan. This can also be used as an effective screening solution, along with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. Aikenist said it provides solutions for detection of ‘opacities’ and ‘consolidation’ using AI algorithms on CT scan and X-ray images.

This will help as AI assistance to radiologists for quick diagnosis. The solution is cloud-based and compatible with all CT and X-ray machines.

Pink Tech Design has worked on developing solutions for digitally assuring sanitation. It has built three inter-connected systems for sanitation. This includes a hand sanitization station, which uses IoT (Internet of Things) sensors and AI to quantify the level of hand sanitization. The system shows a red light when hands are not properly sanitized and a green light when they are. Many employees like pantry boys, street food vendors and paramedics are also required to wear gloves and masks. Pink Tech’s AI-based system uses a camera and underlying computer vision algorithms to detect if a person has worn gloves and a mask.

Using a phone or a standalone system with a camera, it can detect if the user is wearing gloves and masks and record that in an adherence database.

Sensesemi Technology is developing a Covid-19 screening device based on a non-touch thermometer. This can be used to screen people at public places like parks, community halls, cinema halls, bus and train stations to avoid community spread.

BillionLives, a social impact start-up, has launched, a digital advisory and specialist consulting platform which connects doctors, social workers and psychologists with patients, who are seeking accurate and actionable advice on the virus.

Hiiih is also building a support system for those who are in quarantine to ensure they adhere to it properly and is crowd-funding the exercise through Milaap. The initiative focuses on the most crucial need for effective quarantine that is being neglected by many.

Advanced tech to the rescue

> Smart ventilators that can reduce lung injury

> Sensors and AI to quantify the level of hand sanitization

> Screening devices based on the non-touch thermometer

> Digital advisory which connects doctors, social workers and psychologists with patients and families for support

> Face masks that ensure complete leak-proof coverage of eyes, ears, nose



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