21 Jun '12
Oleg Kouzbit, Online News Managing Editor
Scientists and spin-off companies of Tomsk State University (TSU) have unveiled three new ‘smart’ medical instruments, all telemedicine compatible, that the developers claim enable noninvasive LED-based diagnostics of a range of human diseases and provide intelligent drip-feed and cardiopulmonary resuscitation control. Serial production is being set up, and TSU and its partners want to bring their noninvasive diagnostics device to market later this summer, with the other two to reportedly follow in 2013.
Tomsk State University and its innovation companies say they have obtained 26 Russian patents for the three inventions and are working to get international ones, too.
The first of the three devices to hit the market is an intelligent medical instrument designated Vikomed. It is reportedly taking full advantage of optical and television technology and using LED know-how to enable noninvasive diagnostics of a variety of internal and external diseases including those of cervix uteri (neck of uterus); oral, aural and nasal cavities; skin; and some others.
The TSU-led effort, also featuring two university spin-offs, Diagnostika+ and Inavtech, is given a fast track as NIIPP, a Tomsk-based R&D center engaged in semiconductor technology research, has offered its facilities to set up shop. With an investment of a reported $1m the project is expected to be up and running in July or August at the latest.
The first production is at least a month away, but the project consortium already has a number of supply contracts for the new product from Russian, Korean and Chinese medical companies and government clinics, according to TSU. The developers are also in talks with some potential European customers, the university says. When asked about the new facility’s production capacity, Prof. Vladimir Syryamkin told the media “it is a commercial secret.”
The project leaders
Set up as far back as 1878 by Tsar Alexander II as Imperial Siberian University, Tomsk State University is now one of the oldest scientific, educational and R&D centers in Russia’s trans-Urals area. In April 2010 it joined a pioneering group of 12 Russian higher educational establishments granted the status of National Research Universities with a broad mandate for scientific activity and R&D-focused entrepreneurship.
The NIIPP Research Institute of Semiconductor Devices was set up in 1964 and has been recognized since then both domestically and internationally as a leader in electronic engineering, including the Gunn diodes, varicaps, mixer and detector diodes, monolithic mixers, light-emitting diodes, etc.
A device that diagnoses cases
According to the developers, their flagship innovation, Vikomed, “is superior to international analogs in energy efficiency” as it uses LED lighting. Its tiny video camera takes color images of an organ or tissue to be diagnosed, and then the device matches results against an image of the healthy organ. With differences found Vikomed is said to be able to make its tentative diagnosis.
The device is telemedicine compatible and enables data transfer for further study. It can be hooked up to a laptop and used outside specialized medical rooms.
Intelligent drip-feed and cardiopulmonary resuscitation control
There are two more ‘smart’ medical instruments slated for serial production next year also on the NIIPP premises. One is an intelligent drip-feed system that determines what drug needs to be administered and how a patient’s body reacts to the procedure. If anything goes wrong, administration is aborted and the instrument alerts a medical nurse to the emergency using a beeper call.
The invention is now being tested at Tomsk and Moscow clinics, Prof. Syryamkin said, adding that one of TSU’s spin-offs, Inavtech, is working to get the residency status at the Tomsk special economic zone (SEZ) and start commercializing the drip-feed system with a number of tax and other benefits that a Russian SEZ offers.
The other device to be commercialized in 2013 is a telemedicine compatible intelligent instrument to control cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The gadget is put on a patient’s neck in the likeness of a collar, and the developers claim it takes “a split second” to assess the person’s condition and start resuscitation.