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Delhi Institutes Launch India’s First Medical Cobotics Centre

Image credit: iitdelhi; Twitter

The I-Hub Foundation for Cobotics (IHFC), a technology innovation hub (TIH) at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi (IIT-Delhi) and iHub Anubhuti, the TIH at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology in Delhi (IIIT-Delhi), recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up India’s first Medical Cobotics Centre (MCC). TIHs are funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), under the government’s National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS).

The MCC, which will be established at IIIT-Delhi, is a technology-enabled medical simulation and training facility for young resident doctors. It will act as a validation centre for the research outcomes in the area of healthcare robotics and digital health. The centre will also train healthcare professionals, paramedical staff, technicians, engineers, and researchers. Further, the MCC aims to develop strategic partnerships with companies, undertake expert-driven research, and work towards the commercialisation of technologies.

According to an official statement, IIT-Delhi and IIIT-Delhi have expertise in engineering and connections with researchers and medical professionals from various institutions in India. The two hubs are committed to developing advanced technologies in the field of medical robotics/cobotics, digital health, sensing, and computing technologies for robotic-assisted surgeries, training, and medical procedures. The report stated that the institutes plan to induct the first batch of trainees in April/May 2022 with some of the basic training simulators, which are widely available in the open market. Advanced surgical robots will be inducted in the next phase.

The training programmes will be designed in consultation with leading doctors and experts, mainly from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at New Delhi, Jodhpur, and other medical colleges across the country. The training programmes will be offered at multiple levels (basic/advanced) and cohort-specific like urology, neurology, laparoscopy, and others, but initially will be limited to minimum invasive surgeries. An official stated that while India has several medical simulation centres to train resident doctors, there are none dedicated to developing technologies and their validation. The MCC is expected to boost indigenous development and will become a place for various TIHs under the NM-ICPS to showcase their medical-related projects and products with applications.

Last month, IIT-Delhi’s School of Artificial Intelligence (ScAI) announced it would launch a master’s in technology in machine intelligence and data science (MINDS). The MTech in MINDS will be a flagship educational programme and will begin in July 2022. The course is planned as an industry-sponsored programme. Students will be expected to work on industry-relevant AI problems since they will be co-advised by an IIT-Delhi professor and a researcher from the sponsoring company.

As OpenGov Asia reported, all students with an undergraduate degree in science or engineering will be eligible for the MINDS programme. The MINDS curriculum will include graduate-level courses in core AI technologies such as deep learning and data mining, application-oriented courses such as computer vision, natural language processing, AI for healthcare, and fundamental courses on the mathematics underlying modern AI technologies. The PhD programme has gathered a lot of interest in its first year. The Institute has had a 90% success rate in PhD students joining ScAI last semester, which is exceptional for a young academic unit like ScAI, as students generally prefer more established academic programmes.

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