Tata Trusts’ Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (FISE) has developed a portable Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, designed to make scans affordable and accessible to everyone.
The product was developed in two years by a group of engineers at Voxelgrids, incubated by the foundation.
In a statement to the media, FISE said that the 1.5 Tesla whole body MRI scanner can make MRI scans four times faster, as compared to other scanners available in the market while consuming less power and being lightweight, hence easy to carry.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship requires creativity, hard work and endurance to succeed. It also requires an enabling ecosystem to ensure that the most talented innovators are encouraged to take entrepreneurial risks and create positive social, economic and environmental impact,” Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts said.
These developments can reduce the cost of an MRI scan significantly and will expand the scope of diseases that MRI can be employed to diagnose, the trust said in the statement.
“Today, depending on which facility it is, the cost of an MRI scan can be around ₹8,000-₹10,000 per scan. What we have developed is that only on the basis of scientific innovation, we can reduce that cost by 50%,” said Manoj Kumar, Tata Trusts Head (Innovation and Entrepreneurship) and CEO, FISE. He said with further business innovation, planning and scale, the cost of an MRI scan can be lowered further.
Bangalore-based Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences is the clinical partner for the development, where the first system has been installed. “Between August and December we will be parallelly working on human clinical trials for the scanner and design plan for manufacturing. Our plan is that by 2019 the product should be in the market. A further investment of ₹ 10 crore would be made for manufacturing, which will be done here in India,” Kumar said.
Highlighting the advantages of the innovation, he said the new MRI can scan 3 to 4 times faster than those currently available in the market. “Moreover, due to its light weight, this whole system can be mounted on a truck and taken to small towns for real-time imaging of patients in remote areas,” he informed.
Mr. Kumar said the idea behind the innovation is to reduce the cost of MRI scans. and make it accessible to all patients as part of FISE’s endeavour to promote socially relevant innovations and entrepreneurship with a mission to create large scale sustainable social impact.