The necessity for a Hub facilitating instrumentation development was identified by the Technology Development and Transfer (TDT) of the DST as early as 2006. The idea was proposed by the Advisors of TDT, Chairmen of various committees under the Instrumentation Development Program (IDP) after analysing the gaps in the country to support instrumentation projects of socio-medical needs of the country. The primary objective was to facilitate an easier conversion of R&D outputs into tangible products and bridge the academic expertise with the commercial sector by this dedicated infrastructure in the domain of health care instrumentation.
A model for the National Hub for Healthcare Instrumentation Development was put forth by Anna University which after thorough evaluation by 3 separate Expert Advisory Committees of IDP over a span of 2 years was approved by the DST in 2011. A budget of 12.4 Cr was sanctioned for 5 years to set up this national facility in the auspices of the University. The access to highly diverse engineering and technology disciplines within the University and its partnering institutes along with a proven competence and track record in instrumentation development and commercialisation provided an impetus to this objective
Ever since its inception the Hub has been closely working along with DST to design and shape NHHID to meet the objectives as envisioned. Half Yearly review meetings by a 15-member Steering Committee consisting of a complementary mix of renowned scientists heading mega national/international projects, highly respected academics, successful business leaders, policy makers and regulators from across the country, help steer the project and realign when needed. A multidisciplinary research environment and ecosystem, availability of critical support infrastructure for IPR filing and technology transfer, intellectual management with visionary Vice Chancellors aided by a matching administrative flexibility guided by Registrars, who themselves are academic researchers, are factors which contribute to the success of this bold initiative.
Following a RD & C (C – commercialisation) policy, the Hub grew in leaps and bounds and was able to help even partner institutions to file their patents, develop products and facilitate technology-transfer of ideas to companies.
Some major advances in medical instrumentation include: miniaturization and automation for high-throughput multi-parameter analysis of biochemicals and molecular markers; improvements in imaging hardware and software for better physician aids in diagnosis; sensor-based instrumentation on mobile platform for point-of-care patient aids and telemedicine, additive manufacturing of customized prosthesis and robotics-assisted precision surgery. Keeping these developments and our own ground realities in mind, NHHID is progressing towards developing highly affordable devices for quality healthcare in India.