IISc to boost science start-up incubation

The Indian Institute of Science, founded in 1909 by Jamsetji Tata and former Maharajah of Mysore Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, plans to open a research park at its Bengaluru facility within the next three years to incubate sci-tech companies.

“Currently the Society for Innovation and Development is incubating about 15 companies,” said Prof. G.K. Ananthasuresh, chairman of the Centre of Biosystems Science and Engineering. “We want to scale it up ten times and the tenders for setting up the facility has already been issued.”

Corporate collaboration

The institute has collaborations with companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Volvo, Google Inc., General Motors, Microsoft Research, IBM Research, Boeing, Robert Bosch Foundation and Pratt & Whitney. It also works with the Indian Space Research Organisation, Aeronautical Development Agency and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.

The institute, spread over 400 acres, is home to more than 40 departments.

Of about 12 companies incubated by the Society for Innovation and Development arm, an inter-disciplinary body, include simulators used for endoscopy, microsatellites to access the Internet at lower costs, a medical diagnostic kit and a superwave technology to extract oil from sandalwood.

“Many of these companies employ core technology. There are deep science and deep technology involved and the impact they can create is big,” Prof. Ananthasuresh said in an interview.

“We have years of research behind us and comprehensive research is done before commercialisation.”

Pathshodh, the name for the equipment that uses superwave technology, can also be used instead of needles to inject medicine into patients, Mr. Ananthasuresh said. “It is close to being commercialised.”

“Another example is one project we did with Bellatrix where we used our knowledge to position and propel microsatellites. In Open Water, another project, we produced clean water from a contaminated [sample],” Mr. Ananthasuresh said.

An air-conditioned blanket invented by scientists in the institute enables one to cool “in cycles,” he said. “It is a layered blanket and one does not have to cool the whole room. It is a personalised air-conditioner,” he said.

The Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber-Physical Systems was established in 2011 at the institute as an interdisciplinary research and academic centre to promote research in cyber-physical systems.

Mimyk Medical Simulations, incubated at the centre, had developed the endoscopy simulator for gastroenterologists.