They have created a new age wireless stethoscope that uses Bluetooth technology to perform the same function and due to its wireless technology will enable doctors throughout the country to perform pulse detection without close physical contact.
Known for its conglomeration of brilliant minds, IIT Mumbai’s startup AYU DEVICES have used their innovative capabilities to tackle the pandemic in a unique way. Throughout the globe, wired stethoscopes have been the go-to device for pulse detection. Due to the nature of the coronavirus, close physical contact with patients is to be presented to the best of our capabilities as doctors interact with all kinds of patients who can be at risk if the virus were to be transmitted to them.
We had a chance to get a little candid with the makers and ask them a few questions about this amazing innovation.
Have a look at what goes inside the brilliant minds behind the AyuSynk:
How did the thought of creating a ‘wireless’ stethoscope cross your mind?
When the pandemic hit India we spoke to the Doctors, to understand their needs required to be ready for COVID-19 and the difficulties they have faced for the same. With their valuable inputs, we understood the importance of listening to chest sounds during the pandemic and the difficulties the doctors have been facing with the conventional stethoscopes. For example, the doctors faced a lot of issues using their stethoscopes while wearing PPE kits. Also, the children are not able to wear masks thus the doctors have to be more careful while examining them.
In these scenarios, our innovation comes to the rescue of the doctors to help them safeguard themselves while examining the patients even the COVID suspects thanks to our Bluetooth technology through which they are able to maintain a safe distance with the patients.
With these inputs, we made the decision to improve the wireless capability of our device to enable listening of chest sounds in pandemic situations like COVID.
The idea is so revolutionizing. What were your expectations from Indian doctors and hospitals when you launched this device?
The first version of our Innovation “AyuLynk” without the Bluetooth capability was launched in 2018. For this, we received very positive responses from the clinicians. With the launch of AyuSynk the wireless version, the response became even better. I feel happy to say that the Indian doctors have happily accepted our innovation and it is helping them out in their routine practice. Currently, more than 1800 units have been deployed all over India. We are receiving appreciation from doctors, hospitals. Telemedicine and Telehealth is another sector that is using our device and is appreciating our technology at such a competitive price.
How was the government’s response towards this idea?
Luckily the Government has supported us from the very beginning, starting with the Biotechnology Ignition Grant from Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology, Govt. Of India, followed by a grant from Vibrant Gujarat. Also, we were winners at Maharashtra StartUp week organized by the Govt of Maharashtra. Through this, we got the opportunity to deploy the devices in three districts of Maharashtra. I feel happy to share that recently we won a CAWACH fund from the Central Government as a competition for innovations for fighting COVID 19.
Currently, BIRAC is supporting us to scale up our manufacturing to meet up the current demand for our Stethoscopes. Ayu Devices will always be thankful for the support provided by BIRAC throughout this journey.
The incubation and help from the government. How effective is it? What should a start-up look for while seeking government help?
We are currently incubated at SINE, IIT Bombay. It provided us the required connections and mentorship in translating our innovation into a viable business. Since building a company requires support from different stakeholders, SINE played a crucial role in providing us the right platform to connect with the different stakeholders.
AyuSynk and AyuDevices are the most Indian friendly names. How did you come up with it?
‘Ayu’ means the span of life in ‘Sanskrit’ and that is what is the vision of our Startup to improve the lifespan by innovating life-saving medical devices. We are building devices for aiding screening and early diagnosis. This is the reason for keeping Ayu as pre-script.
Please tell us something about your journey so far? How did you start? What motivated you? What kept you going?
It all started with (Medical Device Innovation Conclave) MEDIC 2015, a Medical device hackathon organized by Biomedical Engineering and Technology Innovation Centre(BETIC), IIT Bombay.
In the hackathon, a team was formed including a doctor to come up with a proof of concept of a solution for the problem. Yolo Health, a telemedicine company, had given the problem of transmission of chest sounds from one location to another. We built the proof of concept in the hackathon. Later a prototype was developed at BETiC lab, IIT Bombay. Ayu Devices was formed in 2017 to translate the prototype into a full-fledged product and to make a sustainable business.
We have had first-hand experience of the lack of medical infrastructure in villages of India. The bigger problem is the lack of doctors due to the poor doctor to patient ratio of 1:1600 which is considerably less when compared to the ratio prescribed by the WHO. Our mission is to develop devices, software, and technologies for enabling the early detection of heart and lung diseases. Thus potentially saving lives.