Startup@IITD :: Advanced simulation based training systems for minimally invasive surgical procedures

VIRMAT Pvt Ltd started in October 2015 with an aim to provide products related to advanced simulation based training systems for minimally invasive surgical procedures. It provides innovative and economical solutions to the pressing surgical training needs. The team works closely with the surgeons, scientists, researchers, medical and business professionals to bring about major advances in surgical training and evaluation of skills.

CEO of the company Mr Ramandeep in conversation with Dr Vanita Srivastava

Please give a brief about your startup.

VIRMAT Pvt. Ltd. is a startup company founded by first generation entrepreneurs. Our company has been funded by Pfizer IIT Delhi Innovation and IP Program. Our company is working towards solving apprenticeship-based training related problems by developing physical simulation-based training modules. We have dedicated teams for computer aided designing/manufacturing and electronics hardware/software development. Our aim is to provide complete, innovative and economical solutions to the pressing surgical training needs of India and the world in particular. Virmat works closely with surgeons, scientists, researchers, medical and business professionals to bring about major advances in surgical training and evaluation of surgical skills.


Why did you think on setting up the startup?

During my PhD work, which was related to development of ergonomic neurosurgical instruments, I observed that there are very limited resources available for training of skills required for neuro-endoscopy and involved instruments. Traditional “see one, do one, teach one” concept of apprenticeship is no longer applicable for teaching of skills for minimally invasive surgical procedures. Current workhour restriction, medico-legal issues, increasing demand of skilled surgeons and technology dependent surgical approaches mandate alternative methods of training outside operating room to expedite the learning curve. A surgeon should acquire the surgical skills through repetitive feedback-based training in a simulated environment, where errors does not lead to lethal consequences. But there was no indigenous company that was working in this area, this motivated us to register own startup and work in this area. The objective of our company is to provide indigenous commercial solution for simulation-based training in neurosurgery.


What were the main challenges that you faced?

  • Lack of organized CT/MRI data at hospitals and medical colleges for the modeling of simulators.
  • No indigenous medical image segmentation software available and the imported software are highly expensive.
  • Lack of central facilities for fabrication of complex anatomical structures with varying tissue properties.
  • Validation of simulator components by trained neurosurgeons due to high patient and academic load.


How do you manage competition with others in the market?

CAE Healthcare, Neuro-Touch VR Simulator, Canada, Immersive-Touch Inc. VR Simulator, USA and Kezlex: Ono. & Co. Ltd, Japan are the leading companies dealing with surgical simulators. But their products area very expensive Our company is intended to produce physical simulators with the lowest cost in the market.


What are your plans for the future?

At a later stage, along with our neurosurgical simulation products, we envision to provide simulation solutions to other surgical branches such as Laparoscopy surgery, Head and Neck surgery, Maxillofacial surgery, ENT surgery, Oral surgery, Plastic surgery, Orthopaedic surgery, Dental surgery.

The Team:

Directors:
Ramandeep Singh (PhD Biomedical Engg)
Gagandeep Singh (B. Tech Mechanical Engg)
Mentors:
Prof Ashish Suri (Department of Neurosurgery, AIIMS Delhi)
Dr Deepak Joshi (Cenre for Biomedical Engineering, IIT Delhi)
R&D team:
Kunika
Rajdeep Singh