Startup uses haptics for design techniques, virtual reality to build advanced simulation platforms to help in precision surgeries.
It is quite common that we hear of people losing their lives for diseases like Malaria, TB, Cancer, AIDS, etc. But how many of us know that more number of people die because of surgical complications rather than falling prey to diseases? A report by Lancet Medical Journal confirmed the same. Yearly, 4.3 million out of 313 million people die within 30 days of their surgery on a global scale. This shows how important it is to take care of surgical procedures and how vital the patient's safety is. Better surgical outcomes lead to a better life after surgery. Bad outcomes disrupt lives. So, people also don't often take chances. They think twice and take second opinions before going for a surgery. Also, they get surgeries done only through the experienced doctors and do not generally believe the junior doctors. So, to address this pressing problem, to give every surgeon hands-on experience in surgical procedures and to improve surgical outcomes and better the survival rates post surgeries, a Bengaluru based startup has come forward. Let's get into what they do and how they have been achieving their vision.
What Is Mimyk?
It is quite evident that patients insist on only seeking medical attention only by senior doctors but don't opt for junior doctors. While the patients are correct from their perspective, junior doctors on the other hand, lose their confidence and cool many a time. This can also lead to a situation where they don't get to participate in enough surgeries depriving them of experience. To address this problem, four men associated with the Indian Institute of Science have joined hands and seeded a project to help doctors understand how a medical procedure is done virtually. Laid foundations for at the SID-IISc in Malleshwaram, they named their brain child MIMYK. In order to increase the precision of surgical outcomes, this start up has developed simulators to aid doctors understand surgical procedures without having to perform them on real patients. How is this possible? Let's go deep into their vision and work.
Mimyk and its Vision :
The vison of MIMYK is to create a platform that enables better surgical outcomes. It engages patients, doctors and health workers in a network and collaboratively works to create better surgical procedures.
Let's Peep into what Mimyk does:
This startup company uses haptics (virtual touch), design techniques, and virtual reality to build advanced simulation platforms. To understand better, let's take it this way. Young pilots in the aerospace industry are trained using flight simulators. Before actually putting them on to real piloting, they are placed in a virtual scenario that "creates" artificial real-time situations. In the same way, Mimyk has developed laparoscopy simulator that allows new surgeons to practice their laparoscopic surgeries without human bodies. This simulator is called "Endomimyk". Endomimyk uses graphical visualizations in a virtual reality scenario and provides advanced simulation platform for training, augmented visualization, mission briefing and debriefings, checklists, etc. Mimyk provides solutions for various challenges in the surgical arena. It enables systematic planning of a surgery including any interventional procedures to be taken up by the surgeons, interventionist and others.
Mimyk simulation systems use robotic simulators for surgical training and rehearsal. The practice sessions provide in-detail steps and required assistance while performing surgeries. Thus, Mymik works on developing medical simulation technologies by combining hardware and software. Would it be possible for human patients to be volunteering for the doctors practicing endoscopy? Definitely not! So, these genius brains and the founders of Mimyk have developed a low cost endoscopy simulator to examine the interior of a body by inserting a tube attached with a camera without involving human patients. This simulator also helps to bridge the spatial gap between the patient and the doctor, thus forming a great resource in remote medical diagnosis. Doctors require a high degree of hand-eye coordination, the training for which is provided in several sessions.
Fathers of Mimyk and how did it all Start:
Shanthanu Chakravarthy, Balaji Gopal, Nithin Shivashankar and Raghu Menon are the men behind Mimyk. They have been associated with the Indian Institute of Science for more than a decade now, and have worked on a common project.
Shanthanu was building a simulation platform for invasive surgery in 2015, and that is where their journey began. Under the leadership of Prof. G.K. Ananthasuresh from the department of Mechanical Engineering, Prof. Vijay Natarajan from the department of Computer Science and Automation and the gastroenterologists of AIG, this project has taken shape. Shantanu Chakravarty pursued the design, prototyping, control, haptics and simulation. Nithin Shivashankar and Dilip Thomas built the visualization system. Chakravarty, Shivashankar, Raghu Menon and a former project assistant at IISC, G.Balaji founded Mimyk and went on to commercialize EndoMimyk. Funding for this start-up came from the Biotechnology Ignition Grant of BIRAC-DBT and Idea2PoC grant from the department of IT-BT and Science and Technology, Government of Karnataka.
"Our system employs haptic-integrated VR technology developed at IISc for immersive simulations. The interaction models are physics-based and are being developed to work with real-time haptic interaction. These physics-based models provide realistic rendering and are superior to graphics-only scenes provided by the competitors,” the team said.
While Endomymik helps in endoscopy currently, it can be extrapolated to treat other gastrointestinal ailments too. Furthermore, for many other interventional procedures like bronchoscopy, this simulation technology can be applied.
“Rich medical content and training modules are being developed for upper and lower-GI endoscopy that accompany the hapto-VR simulator. These modules will introduce best practices is endoscopy training.”, the team said.
A Great Leap In Medical Sciences:
Mimyk's simulation systems can enable the training of over 5 lakh doctors and health workers. This has the potential to improve the surgical outcomes of more than 300 million surgeries annually.
Whatever it is, advancements in the field of medical sciences are the need of the hour. Medicine and its benefits should reach the last individual at the remotest possible location. With such innovative start ups, it's a ray of hope that India will achieve notable heights in medical facilities in the days to come. May this start up flourish and may this touch millions of lives.
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